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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Daily Devotion for March 9, 2018


Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan, Christian setting out and meditating
Christian Meditating, panel from the Moving Panorama, ca. 1851. Here, Christian leaves his cozy home in the City of Destruction, to find the Celestial City. He is disturbed by an unnamed “book in his hand” (the Bible). Notice what appears to be an idol, looking very much like the Venus de Milo, about which the people in the City of Destruction congregate.

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.

This video of Allison Krauss singing Down in the River to Pray features some wonderful old photographs of rural baptisms.



For the Presence of God

O  God, be present with me always, dwell within my heart. With thy light and thy Spirit guide my soul, my thoughts, and all my actions, that I may teach thy Word, that thy healing power may be in me and in all the saints of thy church universal.

Amen.

To Help Everyone I Meet

Holy God, I pray that today the love I show to my fellow man will not be a sham, but fashioned in a sincere heart. May your Holy Spirit be powerful in me, blinding me to annoyances and putting aside selfish greed, so that I may lift up the people I meet, showing them warm affection and leaving them filled with good spirits and confidence. If they are sorrowful, lead me to console them. If they are lost, let me show them the path. Help me always to seek after good rather than evil, and to display, for the whole world to see, the miracle you have worked in my soul.

In the name of Christ, who was always ready to teach and heal and save, I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

[Is my love for other humans sincere?]


Benediction

If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.


endless knot

Blue Latin Cross

1 Samuel 15:24-35 (abridged) (NASB)

(In verses 1-23, God ordered Saul to destroy the Amelkites, including all the livestock; but Saul spared some of the healthy sheep and goats. Now, God is angry with Saul for his disobedience.)

Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors, to one better than you.”

Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the Lord was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.


Notes on the Scripture

S

aul goes through four phases of reaction to Samuel’s indictment of him, for failing to destroy the Amelkite livestock: First, he says he retained them to sacrifice to God; then he says, basically, “the people made me do it”; then he confesses his sin; then he begs Samuel for mercy.

We have no reason to doubt that the Hebrews pressured Saul to spare the fat, healthy livestock. The Hebrews were herders, and destroying healthy sheep, goats, etc., was to them like pouring money down the drain. It made no sense.

But God did not (and throughout the Bible, never does) give government to the people. He gave government to Saul; and then, only because the people agitated for a king. He expects Saul to resist the will of the people, when it conflicts with His orders.

To think democracy is somehow “Christian” is a delusion fostered by those who will claim that the Bible says what they want it to say, rather than what is actually written. When God is not our sole king . . . well, the outcome is presaged in Exodus. When Moses climbed Mt. Sinai, the people wasted no time in building a golden calf to worship; and we see the popular tendency to godlessness reflected in the ever-increasing immorality of Western society. Salvation does not lie in civil government, but in Christ and Christ alone. “[A]nd the government shall be upon his shoulder. . . .” (Isaiah 9:6)

Nor does God approve of monarchy. The best one might say about the Hebrew demand for a king is to speculate that God acceded to the request, in order to hasten the destruction of Israel. But certainly, God considered the demand for a king to be a rejection of His holy authority: “The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.’” (1 Samuel 8:7)

Which leads us to consider: What form of government does God want us to have? Well, there is no really clear explicit statement in the Bible. We might infer, from the quote above, that God preferred the tribal/elder form of government prevalent in Judges to a monarchy. On the other hand, we see a continual ebb and flow of holiness in the Hebrews during this period; they are constantly veering off course, only to be returned to the path by a great prophet or judge, such as Moses, Joshua, or Samuel.

We also see this sort of government in very early Christianity, where ultimate authority lay with a council of elders in Jerusalem. And we see it today, in Amish communities. One might speculate that this is the “most-favored” form of civil government in the Bible. But again, civil government, being always human, is a dead-end. Our only salvation is in Christ.



<i>Adoration of the Golden Calf</i>, by Nicholas Poussin, ca. 1633.
Adoration of the Golden Calf, by Nicholas Poussin, ca. 1633. The will of the people in action!

Daily Inspiration

“Wisdom”

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Printable Format for Today’s Devotion





Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:40 (NASB): If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.


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Comments (4)

Topic: Daily Prayer and Christian Devotional
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William (Edwardsville, US) says...
What kind of government should we have? Man is fallible. So I'm waiting for someone infallible, Jesus, can take the thrown and be in charge! Until then, we will never have a perfect government.
9th March 2018 8:47am
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Donna (Texas) says...
Today’s music and photos were beautiful and touching.
9th March 2018 8:38am
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Melissa (Royersford, US) says...
I have always been struck by this, how it broke God's heart that the people did not want him to be their king. Anything less than Christ as the sole King of our lives is selling ourselves short. Though we prefer earthly leaders that we can keep at eye level, God knows better. If only we could trust Him more. It seems ludicrous not to trust God, yet we prefer the tangible to the intangible. Lord, open the eyes of our hearts, to see you more, love you more and let you be the King that you ... Read More
9th March 2018 7:37am
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Vanetta says...
Amen!
9th March 2018 8:05am
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Lotte (Australia) says...
Jenny, I always love reading your Inspirations, but your message today is beautiful and so relevant to my current situation, and for so many people who are struggling in the darkness. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
8th March 2018 7:06pm
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Suzanne (Indian River, US) says...
Jenny, I am sure you saved someone’s life today (maybe more!). May God Bless you!
8th March 2018 10:26am
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Suzanne (Indian River, US) says...
Mason, I too pray for your mother and family. May you all feel God’s loving embrace at this difficult time. Also, thank you for your explanation of the scripture today. It has always troubled me God’s vengeance in the Old Testament, especially the killing of innocent children. Your notes today gave me a greater insight and brought me peace. God Bless you!
8th March 2018 10:17am
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Norita Rich (Newark, US) says...
Mark 13:35 Every time I come across this verse the same thoughts linger my head That We should always be ready and always treat today as our last day , ready and holy that we can see Him forever . I relate this in my everyday life ,the day I decided not to clean my house that is when one of my friends out of the blue come to visit me I feel awful
8th March 2018 10:15am
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Ann Brock (US) says...
Jennifer and Margaret, thank you for your words of encouragement as they bless my soul. With God's help, it is possible to write them, without Him my words mean nothing. May God bless you both. Cool
8th March 2018 9:03am
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William (Edwardsville, US) says...
Wow - as deep of an explanation of the scriptures as I've ever read here. Kudos!
8th March 2018 8:52am
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Thomas Snavely (Lebanon Pa., US) says...
May God shower you and your mother with His blessings as you continue to bless us with your dedication to this site. You and your mother are in my prayers.
8th March 2018 6:16am
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Linda Lyon (London, UK) says...
Mason, may God surround you and your mum with love and bring you both peace and comfort.....
8th March 2018 2:14am
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Pam Carpenter (Windermere, UK) says...
Mason I am very sorry to hear about your mum, my prayers are with you.
8th March 2018 1:54am
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Rosemarie (Tallahassee, US) says...
Mason, I am praying for your mother, you and your family.
8th March 2018 12:08am
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