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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Daily Devotion for March 16, 2019


<i>Hezekiah Burns the Idols</i>, inked woodcut from the Henry VIII Bible, ca. 1539.
Hezekiah Burns the Idols, inked woodcut from the Henry VIII Bible, ca. 1539.

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.

Mahalia Jackson in her famous rendition of the classic spiritual, Trouble of the World.



Prayer to Live with Jesus

Dearest Jesus, work another miracle, a prodigy of grace. Make my soul a beautiful, living Tabernacle where You will ever dwell. Let me never leave You alone, but remind me to return hundreds of times in the day and have a word with You.

Amen.

Thanks for Grace

Jesus the Good Shepherd

O  Lord God, I know you demand my complete and perfect submission and obedience; and I have never given it to you, except perhaps in brief moments of prayer. But I know you do not command obedience because you just enjoy telling me what to do. It is because you want to bless me completely, and you cannot bless what you do not have. You claim me only out of love, because you want to bless me with all goodness, with perfect goodness, with all abundance and all happiness, to take away my pain forever. I cannot do this, Lord, but I know that you can, by Your grace.

I pray thus for grace, to make me your own even in my imperfection, through the miracle you gave us in the life and death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I give you all my love and thanks for stooping to remember me, to rescue me, and to make me perfect that I may have your blessing. And it is in His name that I pray,

Amen.

Benediction

Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

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.


Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

What Bible verse might give us pause to question the sincerity of our faith, if our life does not show good works from it?

Answer: James 2:17
“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”



<i>Saint Catherine of Siena, artist unknown ca. 1680.</i>
Saint Catherine of Siena, artist unknown, ca. 1680.

Proverbs 10:17 (ESV)

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.


Blue Latin Cross

Acts 7:23-32 (KJV)

Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin [3]
A

nd when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.


Notes on the Scripture

This is a continuation of Stephen’s defense of himself before the Sanhedrin, and there isn’t much to say about it. Today’s lesson is simply a summary of a passage from Exodus. If you missed the past few days, the preceding verses are Acts 7:1-22.

The short introductory verse, though, has a life lesson that is hard to learn. Many of us have difficulty taking instruction and correction. It may involve some childhood situation or even trauma, or it may seem to have been born with us; it may spring from rebelliousness, or from a simple lack of trust; but it always involves the sin of pride.

Our pride defeats us. For which of us would do worse, when we could do better? But we do not do as well as we can when we refuse instruction or rebel against correction. We either believe that we know better than our teacher, or even worse, simply cannot stand to be told what to do or how to do it.

Judas Hanged (detail) | Psalter-Hours of Guiluys de Boisleux | after 1246

In life, sometimes, a peculiar genius who does not accept instruction will have enormous success, because he sees something others do not. Even in the case of religion, rebellion against a church authority may be necessary. But in the case of God, we never have success through rebellion against the Word. Stiffening our necks (as the Hebrews used to put it) against instruction and correction about our sinfulness, in our morals, blocks our path to God.

Remember the story of the rich man and the camel passing through the eye of the needle? We never learned if he followed Christ’s instructions to give away his money, but the text did tell us that the man was unhappy. We always feel rebellious when we try to stop sinful behavior. That’s the nature of sin. We don’t sin to insult God; we sin because we like the short-term consequences, even though the outcome is bad and possibly disastrous in the long-term.

It is important to pray to the Holy Spirit for correction, even if it means we are punished for our sin in our lives. It is a hard thing, but often, punishment is the only way we can stop sinful behavior, even if we want to stop. Alcoholics and drug addicts call this “hitting your bottom.” If we are corrected and do not accept it, we get the pain without the benefit; criminals in prison most commonly refuse the benefit of the correction given. They blame others, or rationalize their conduct, and spend their lives returning to prison.

We must confess, we must ask for forgiveness; but we must also accept instruction and correction, which is the hard part. Otherwise, our pride will make it impossible for us to follow God’s will.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Fabulous Life-Stories ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.


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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Mar 16, 2019 were:
Kathryn Halfman (11)
Vavachan Joseph (11)
Norman Daniels (11)
Gary Merriman (11)
Tom Kraft (11)
LANA OAKLEY (11)
Jacqui Webster (10)
CHARLES CLOWES (10)
Mary Quarles (10)
Linda Surber (10)
randall martin (10)
Gwendolyn Anderson (10)
Jeanne Hoy (10)

Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Kathryn Halfman (9 out of 9)
Vavachan Joseph (9 out of 9)
Norman Daniels (9 out of 9)
Greg Flippin (9 out of 9)
Allison King (9 out of 9)
randall martin (9 out of 9)

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