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Daily Devotional Prayer

Evening Devotion for January 23, 2020


<i>I Will Make You Fishers of Men</i>, by Edward Armitage, ca. 1858.
I Will Make You Fishers of Men, by Edward Armitage, ca. 1858. Jesus calls John and James to His service.

Prayers

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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.

Prayer for the End of the Day

Merciful God, in whom is no darkness at all, I come before You at the end of this day. I thank You that You have given me strength for my daily work, and have guided me safely through this day. Bless what was good in my labor and conduct.

Since You ordained that man should labor during the day and rest at night, I pray You to give me peaceful and undisturbed rest so that I may be able to take up my daily tasks again. Command Your angels to guard me and cause Your face to shine upon me, and all my family and loved ones. I cast all my anxieties on You, for You take care of me.

Control my sleep and rule my heart, in order that I may not be defiled in any way but may glorify You even in my nightly rest. Defend and protect me against all assaults of the devil and take me into Your divine protection.

I confess that I did not spend this day without grievously sinning against You. In Your mercy please cover my sins as You cover the earth in the darkness of the night.

Grant comfort and rest to all who are ill, bowed down with grief, or afflicted with spiritual distress. Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not abandon the works of Your hands. All this I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Confession

Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.

Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.

Amen.

Prayer for Decision-Making

Gracious God, it’s time. It’s time to make the hard decisions. Sometimes I’m scared, sometimes I’m confused, and sometimes I just don’t want to believe I have to make a decision. Help me to trust You. Give me strength and wisdom so that whatever happens honors my fellow humans and You. Thank You for hearing me and answering my prayer.

Amen.

Benediction

May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

I realize some people hate country music. Still, I hope you’ll give this medley of two old-time gospel favorites a chance.

Alan Jackson sings this like he means it. When he shifts songs and kicks this up a notch—“Some glad morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away”—I look at the sky outside my window and feel, momentarily, transported.


Lyrics

Scripture

The Singing Mule?

Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony.

~ John Calvin


Blue Latin Cross

John 1:1-14 (KJV)

I

n the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

         *         *         *

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Notes on the Scripture

Overview of the New Testament: The Gospels
4. The Gospel of John
In the beginning

The Gospel of John was (most likely) written around 90 A.D., decades after the others, and it is noticeably different from them. Christ’s divinity is presented in all of the gospels, but the Synoptics more fully present Christ’s roles as King, Messiah, Healer, and Teacher, while John strongly emphasizes the divinity of Jesus and the promise of eternal life as a reflection of God’s love.

This distinctive message appears immediately, in the powerful and poetic opening verses. For the first time, we learn that Christ existed before the creation and was, himself, the Creator. This is impossible to understand from the life of Jesus, because while He was human, he had partially separated himself from the power of the Godhead. In Paul’s words, He “emptied” himself, giving up many attributes of his divinity,

“taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.”

(Philippians 2:5-8) While we understand Christ is the Son of God in all of the gospels, John drives home the point that Christ is God. He is and has always been fully God, except that He intentionally relinquished His powers to live as a human being for @ 30 years.

The Synoptics all begin with extensive narrative of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, turning towards Judea and Jerusalem just after the halfway mark. But John is set almost entirely in Jerusalem. It has comparatively few miracles, and those it does present are specifically symbolic; it relates seven miracles (pre-Resurrection), each of which constitutes a specific “sign” of Christ’s divinity. The first, the marriage at Cana where Christ turns water into wine, is replete with symbolism of the new covenant. The last, raising Lazarus from the dead, prophesies Christ’s own resurrection. (Both of these miracles are unique to John.)

John the Evangelist by Velazquez
John the Evangelist
by Diego Velzquez
Full-size.

John does have parables, miracles, and biography, but they are limited in number and secondary in importance to theological discourse. A single long discourse, Jesus’ speech to the disciples on the night before his crucifixion, takes up almost a quarter of the book (Chapters 13-17).

A word count demonstrates the gospel’s distinctiveness. The word “kingdom” appears 65 times in Matthew but only five times in John; on the other hand, the word “life” appears 36 times in John, more than twice as often as the other three gospels combined. Similarly, the word “love” occurs 53 times in John (by my count) and 27 times in the combined Synoptics.

But the difference is far greater than the numbers, because John speaks mostly to the love of God for us, and our love for God, while the Synoptics generally use the word as a human trait, e.g. “love your neighbor as yourself.” This highlights one strong theme: God’s love for humanity. Christ’s ministry and passion are characterized as an expression of this love, a love that will bring us eternal life.

One would be justified in concluding that John wrote his gospel to fill a theological gap in the other three; or perhaps it would be better to say, to complete our understanding, for it does not stand as a single complete work any more than the other gospels.

John is many people’s “favorite” gospel, but it is properly placed fourth; for reading John without first understanding the message of the Synoptics can lead to a lopsided theology of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls “cheap grace.”



Daily Inspiration

“In Good Company”


Depiction of St. John, cover page from the <i>Book of Kells</i>, ca. 800 A.D.
John the Evangelist, cover page from the Book of Kells, ca. 800 A.D.

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:39, 44: I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. . . . [L]ove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.



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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Jan 22, 2020 were:

Norman Daniels (12)
HM Latchmenarine (12)
Pam Carpenter (11)
Gary Merriman (11)
randall martin (11)
Margaret Entwistle (11)

Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Keith Langley (9 out of 9)
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Greg Flippin (9 out of 9)
Norman Daniels (9 out of 9)
randall martin (9 out of 9)