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Friday, December 14, 2018

Daily Devotion for February 1, 2018


<i>Psalm 85,</i> by John August Swanson (contemporary).
Psalm 85, by John August Swanson (contemporary).

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.

The lyrics of this wonderful South African gospel song are “We are marching in the light of God,” repeated over and over.



For Perseverance

God, though this life is but a wraith,
Although we know not what we use;
Although we grope with little faith,
God, give me the heart to fight and lose.

Amen.

To Treat Others with Love and Understanding

Heavenly Lord, you have commanded us to love one another, but sometimes even when I am pleasant to another person it is not sincere. Help me, I pray, to be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let my love and concern for others not be a sham. When I work for you, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I might be committed and enthusiastic in your service. Let me live in your presence, and not get so wrapped up in my life that I forget about you.

And may I be patient when difficulties arise and not give way to frustration and anger, knowing always that the result belongs to you. Let me not take offense at others, let me not be thin-skinned; but shielded by the power of your Spirit, let me not hear insult where none is intended, and shrug off even the most intentional. In Christ’s name, I pray this.

Amen.

Meditation

[Do I hear insults when none are intended?]


Parting Prayer

Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


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.



statue of Astoreth
Asoreth or Ashtoreth was the Hebrew version of Astarte, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. Here is a superb example of her, from the neighboring Phoenecians.
Apparently, her breasts were a fountain for some holy liquid, which would be drunk from the bowl.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.”

~ Isaiah 66:9


Blue Latin Cross

1 Samuel 7 (NLT)

Samuel’s Ascendance and More War with the Philistines

So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the Lord. They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it. The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the Lord had abandoned them.

Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.

Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.)

When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him.

Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.

Ebenezer stone

Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.

Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.


Notes on the Scripture

This passage recounts Samuel becoming the great judge of Israel. First he rid Israel from the worship of primitive idol-gods, Ba’al and Astoreths, bringing Israel back into the good graces of the true God. From their constant relapses, it is apparent how difficult it was for an ancient people to conceive of a God who did not take a concrete form.

O

nce they have been restored to compliance with their covenant, God again intervenes to defeat the Israelites great enemy, the Philistines; they were so badly chastised that they returned villages that had been captured and ended their attacks on Israel for the rest of Samuel’s life. Not only has he become a great man, but under his leadership Israel once again enters a period of reverence, prosperity, and growth. They are on the upswing; the foundation for Israel’s greatest period has been laid. They are on the brink of a great surge in economic, military and political power made possible by him, the beginning of which is recounted in the next chapter.



endless knot

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“ The New Commandment ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.


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