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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Daily Devotion for January 19, 2018

<i>Saint Bartholomew (detail)</i> by Anthony van Dyck, ca. 1619.
Saint Bartholomew (detail) by Anthony van Dyck, ca. 1619. It is easy to forget that Van Dyke began his career as a Flemish master; Rubens called him “my best student.” The comparative frivolity of his later portraits, reflecting the vanity of English society (and probably himself), abandoned the true greatness one can see in his earliest works executed in Antwerp, such as this treatment of St. Bartholomew (Nathanael).



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Lord's Prayer

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.


Prayer for the Morning

The night has passed, the sun shines its light upon us, and the day lies open before me. As I rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence fill me with love for you and my fellow man, holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abide with me, I pray, now and forever.


Prayer of Thanks for This Life

O  God in heaven, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now your love has illumined my path and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give you thanks for every step of my life’s journey, together with all who have come to know you, who call upon your name. All glory be to you, O God, from age to age,



[Rejoicing in the day.]


The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace, this day 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.

Devotional painting of Saint Martin and the Beggar by El Greco
El Greco (c. 1598) depicts St. Martin tearing his cloak, to give half to a beggar.

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps

Blue Latin Cross

1 Corinthians 12:12-20 (ESV)

One Body with Many Members [1]

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Notes on the Scripture

The Scriptural passage from Wednesday began a discussion about the diversity of the experience and expression of the Holy Spirit in different people; for both cover a wide range. The analogy is easy enough to grasp; like a person, or even a complex machine, the means by which we show God’s glory to the world has a lot of dissimilar moving parts.


he danger Paul seeks to meet is that a person might feel unimportant in the great scheme of religious expression, for we are torn between two equally misguided characteristics of human nature: our tendency to place ourselves at the center of the universe, and our tendency to organize into hierarchical groups. Raw lust for power — the untempered need to be seen as “important” — tend to rise in a hierarchy. Nietzsche, the great German philosopher so beloved by the Nazis, understood this better than anyone, and wrote at great length about the “will to power.”

If you wonder why political systems, or even corporations, are so beset by mediocrity and a lack of honesty, the importance of “will to power”explains it. Leaders tend to be people who are power hungry. Unfortunately, ambition is inimical to integrity and, if we are not careful, will overcome it. And the opposite also obtains, for there is also a tendency for those with less ambition to focus glory on a leader. Most people want to follow someone; they begin to believe what someone says, rather than what the Bible says, especially if the person tells them what they want to hear.

The church today sees less of this than most institutions (although it sees plenty). As history shows, this has not always been true, but still, truly pious servants often find their way up the ladder of church hierarchies, and many in the congregation are able to accept that the Holy Spirit was sent by God so that our need for a leader might be satisfied by looking to God Himself, once Christ had left us.

But this is not the natural state of human organizations, and apparently was a struggle faced by the church in Corinth; it had even gone so far that some charismatic leaders had splintered groups off into sects, who identified their belief primarily with the leader, rather than with Christ.

It is critical to our worship that we feel our place as equals before God, for we all fall short of His glory. In Righteousness 101, we all get the same grade: F. Does Christ judge a president higher than a beggar? No, and in fact, the humble found His message easier to hear and accept.

All of us should use our gifts fully and not embarrassed if we are put in positions of leadership, nor ashamed if we serve unnoticed; this is the essence of Paul’s message.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“The Church on the Mount”

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2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is inspired by God . . . .

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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Jan 18, 2018 were:
Michael Lockhart (12)
Pam Carpenter (11)
Norman Daniels (11)
randall martin (11)

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