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Daily Devotion for March 23, 2017
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
If you dislike bagpipes — they only last a minute. This is worth waiting them out.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T'was Grace that taught
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within in the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
then when we've first begun.
Lyrics by John Newton (1773)
Music origin unk.
Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (350 A.D.)
O Lord and Master of my life, this day, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.
Prayer for Mercy
Holy Lord God, creator of all things, who has commanded our obedience to your commandments as a sign of our love: Look with mercy, I pray, on the sins I have this day committed, and in mercy make me feel them deeply, that my repentance may be sincere, and my resolutions against them steadfast. Teach me to understand the sinfulness of my own heart. Bring to my knowledge every fault of character and every evil habit in which I have indulged, to the discomfort of my fellow-creatures and the danger of my own soul. May I now, and every day, consider how my time has been spent, what have been my prevailing thoughts, words, and actions, and how I might can acquit myself of evil. Have I thought irreverently of you? Have I disobeyed your commandments, neglected a known duty, or willingly given pain to another? Incline me to ask my heart these questions, O Lord, and save me from deceiving myself by pride or vanity.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
We sometimes hear, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” What Bible verse does this come from?
Answer: Matthew 6:25
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Psalm 89:3-4 (NKJV)
I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:
‘Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’
Genesis 20:1-7 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Abimelech
From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife.”
Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, 'She is my sister'? And she herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
Notes on the Scripture
e cannot fully understand why Abraham was so reluctant to admit that Sarah was his wife. When he first went to Egypt, remember, he did this, and the Pharaoh took her for his concubine. It would seem, by inference, that having a sister was safer for one or both of them than having a wife. Apparently, in the lawless dawn of history, whoever had power in a locale might simply kill a stranger if he wanted his wife, whereas a sister could be bought or taken with less fear of reprisal.
Abraham — and again, we are not told why, exactly — leaves the area west of Jerusalem and travels to the largely wild and untamed Negev. He alights in an area dominated by Abimelech, whose name would be lost to history except for Genesis, for he was of no importance. He is called a “king” but was probably more like what we, today, would call a local warlord or tribal chieftain. (There are several other, more prominent people in the Bible named “Abimelech”, including a great king of the Philistines and a high priest at the time of David.)
But Abimelech is not a savage and, when God informs him that he will die because he has taken someone else's wife, he pleads innocence on grounds of having been misled by the injured husband. (Luckily, it seems that he had not consummated the union.)
God has, at this point, fully entered into His first covenant with Abraham, and He protects him. But since Abimelech is innocent for lack of knowledge, God gives him a warning: return Sarah, or face extinction.