Daily Devotion for March 15, 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.
A little bit of country applied to an old hymn
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer for Help with Our Troubles
O God, my help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the supplications of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner. Have mercy upon me, and deliver me from all the troubles and tribulations of life. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that all trials of this life are given by you for our chastisement, when we drift away from you and disobey your commandments, and thus for our salvation.
Deal not with me after my sins, I pray, but according to your measureless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. Grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering, I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life, and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy, and exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to your servant. Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed are you unto ages of ages
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Jesus the Good Shepherd 
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."
There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?"
Others said, "These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus continues to flesh out the metaphor of the good shepherd, speaking of how a good shepherd does not run from a wolf. He is anticipating his sacrifice, for his time has come. He is letting his disciples know, in the most roundabout manner, that as their shepherd, he will have to stand fast in the face of certain death.
He also treats a theme which will cause some dissension, telling the listening Jews that he has "sheep that are not of this fold", that is, people who are not Jews. He is very clear about this: There is to be one flock, consisting of Jews and Gentiles alike, and one shepherd, Jesus Christ.
People speak of "churches", and they may mean a building, or a congregation, or a denomination. But there is only one church, the flock of those who have been saved by their belief in Christ, and Christ himself tells us this without any room for doubt.