Daily Devotion for March 19, 2018
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.
Fernando Ortega reconceives this wonderful old hymn, managing to retain the charm of the original.
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!
What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.
Music by Hans Leo Hassler (1600)
Lyrics by J.W. Alexander, 1830
To Show Christ’s Love Today
Oh Holy God, who has commanded us to love one another without fail, purify my soul. Let your Holy Spirit empower me throughout this day, to be obedient to the truth at every moment, so that I might love my brothers and sisters earnestly, from a pure heart.
And let me always remember that I have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of your Son; born again into a life of perfect love, obedience, and service. And if I am confused or do not know what to think or do, let me think of your Son, Jesus Christ, and ask myself what He would have done. For I will follow him even to the point of suffering and death, confident in his resurrection and the eternal reward for those that do follow him in sincere belief.
Prayer to Live in the Moment
Lord Christ, I have puzzled long and hard over your words, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” But I get the gist of it: we have enough to worry about today. You have tomorrow covered.
Leaving the future in your hands is hard; I want to worry. Please, Lord Christ, show me the way. Teach me to live in the day, in the moment, so that I might focus myself on whatever is at hand.
Thy will be done, my Lord and God; I leave my destiny to your guidance. Help me to surrender myself to you in faith and clear my mind of confusion. Let my attention on your will be undivided, I pray, for my only hope lies in You.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse tells us that Jesus was obedient to the Father until He died?
Psalm 146:1-4 (NKJV)
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
John 1:6-9 (NKJV)
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Notes on the Scripture
he first thing that strikes a reader of this passage is that John the Baptist was sent from God. Think about the importance of this claim. A man claims that God has sent him (or others make the claim about him). Imagine someone today who claims that he was “sent from God” — would we believe him? Most likely, we would medicate him. If he didn’t bathe or cut his hair or beard, we would also call him “homeless” and write letters to the editor about how mental institutions for the indigent should be better funded.
But what if this person attracted a wide following? Then, we would read articles about what a fraud he is; parents would send out deprogrammers to get their children out of the cult, before the person could steal all their money. Homeland Security would investigate him.
Yet, John the Baptist did not show any signs of insanity. He specifically wore hard clothes and lived in the wilderness as a religious observation. Nor, apparently, did he accept large donations. He wasn’t trying to get rich. Nor did he claim to be something special; rather, he claimed that he was not this thing called “the Light.” His only purpose was to bear witness. That is, he wanted to state that a person was coming who was, actually, the child of God.
We are often challenged by people who think that Christianity was made up, fabricated, a fairly tale. But it doesn’t bear any of the earmarks of madness or of fraud. John the Baptist had nothing to gain by lying. He wasn’t seeking political power. He wasn’t seeking wealth. And the only reason to call him insane would be that you didn’t believe him.
We were given free will, and we can believe that John the Baptist was sent by God, or not. But we do know, with a fair amount of certainty, that he was neither manipulating people for some ulterior motive, nor out of his mind. I think that, all in all, if someone like him were to appear and I encountered him, I would take him seriously, especially if the Christ had not yet come to earth. What do you think?