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Daily Devotion for April 13, 2012
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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison).
Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness — look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him."
John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.'
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease."
Notes on the Scripture
After John the Baptist baptized Jesus, he continued to work his mission (until he was arrested and beheaded by Herod). But Jesus then traveled up the road and, in effect, set up shop in competition. The crowds which had previously come to John for baptism began to go to Jesus, instead; and John's disciples became jealous.
John did not mind; he was delighted to see people finding salvation. He was less interested in being important than in seeing people find salvation.
This was probably the last time in recorded history that a minister was happy to see his flock go somewhere else. It is a terrible truth, that most leaders of churches count their success, and even their self-worth, in part by how many heads come into their church on Sunday.
All of us measure ourselves in terms of how well those close to us are doing: our friends, our families, our neighbors. It is a natural instinct. If my neighbor drives an old beaten up car, and I have a two-year-old Honda Accord, I will have a natural instinct to feel a little more successful, more comfortable. But if my neighbor has a brand-new Mercedes, I might feel a little sheepish, at least to the point where I have to remind myself, consciously, that one's automobile has no bearing on one's self-worth.
Every day, we should examine our sins and ask God for forgiveness. And when we do so, it can help both our spiritual life and our earthly life to take a minute and examine how envy has snuck into our thinking. Do you feel intimidated or slightly angry at someone who is much richer or better-looking than you? Or feel a slight smugness, a tendency to patronize someone who is not as smart as you or wears unfashionable clothes? These feelings are the product of envy.
We are all sinners and will never be rid of temptation to sin in our lives. But also, we are all perfect in Christ. Other people are our brothers and sisters, our fellow men; and if we have found Christ, it is inconceivable that we are better or worse than them. It is important for us to work this concept in our prayers every day, for envy will constantly sneak up and creep into our lives if we do not actively guard against it.