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Daily Devotion for February 1, 2011
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
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer to Live Christ's Word
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.
Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me. This I pray in Jesus’ name.
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.
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.
Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
John the Baptist Testifies Again About Jesus
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.)
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
Notes on the Scripture
John the Baptist, like Jesus, has a large following of disciples. He was much like a charismatic preacher in today's world who starts a church. He didn't have a building with a pulpit and a softball team, but he certainly had a sect of people who considered him their religious leader.
We see something that is a bit amusing. Like every church that has ever existed, people start bickering over silly things, in this case the details of ceremonial washing of some sort. Probably, eventually, the people who didn't like the way ceremonial washing was done would have left and started their own church.
His followers then complain that yet another group has started baptizing, this one following Jesus, and that his sect is more popular than theirs. At this point, the pettiness ends. John lets them know that his mission is not to start a religion of which he is the head. He likens himself to a groomsman in a wedding. The bride belongs to the groom, not the groomsman, and when the groom arrives, the groomsmen take a back seat. Not begrudgingly, but with joy. So it is with John. He has only been awaiting Christ's arrival, awaiting the time when he can serve him. And now he must become less important, because the true leader has come.