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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for March 16, 2014

Stained glass | Eglise du Sablon, Brussels
Five saints (names are illegible, but that might be St. Ursula in the center) depicted in the magnificent Church of Our Lady of Sablon, Brussels. Late 15th century.



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lessons and scripture

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.


Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week is extra-special. The Apostolic Tabernacle Choir sings Ride on King Jesus.

The first time I heard this, I had my speakers turned up, and it brought me to my feet in ten seconds. Try it!

For Sunday Morning

Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.

Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.

And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,


Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.

Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love.

Grant me the Spirit of Fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.

the Spirit of Piety that I may find peace and fulfillment in serving You, while serving others;

the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation;

the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself, and thus grow in holiness;

the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your truth;

the Spirit of Counsel that I may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may aspire to the things that last forever;

Teach me to be Your faithful disciple. Animate me with Your Spirit in every aspect of my life, today and throughout the week to come.



Doxology (Traditional Anglican)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


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.

endless knot

Psalm 25:1-5 (NKJV)

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Blue Latin Cross

Romans 12:15 (ESV)

Keeping Our Spirits Up

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Notes on the Scripture

People who have their minds set on a great goal can undergo extraordinary hardships, for long periods, to reach it. A person who wants to become a surgeon, for example, might spend eight years of constant work, living on the bare essentials, just to get through school; and then another six or eight years of training, living with minimum comforts and often heavily in debt, before becoming certified. In fact, this kind of life is the rule for great achievers in life; two-thirds of the world's billionaires grew up in poverty.

To live with God is the greatest achievement any of us can conceive. Who would not rather have eternal life than a medical degree or a billion dollars? And many have given everything to reach this, the greatest goal imaginable. Francis of Assisi and countless others have given away fortunes and lived lives of intentional deprivation, just because such things were so paltry compared to the victory they hoped to achieve. Countless others have suffered prison, beatings, or death.

Most of us are not called upon to sacrifice so much. Christ tells us that his burden is light. Really, life as a Christian is sometimes not a "burden" at all. The joy we feel, the friends we meet, and the good choices we make, often allow us a better life on earth; and the burdens of the wicked can be heavy indeed.

Today, Paul gives us the formula to lighten our load. First, he tells us, remember to let the joy of the Holy Spirit out of your mental cage. Remind yourself of your goal, for it will sustain you.

Second, let God ease the pains we all feel in life. Patience is the state of mind of a person who knows that something good is on the way. Great things can come to those who wait. Almost everyone suffers. The agony of losing beloved family members, the pain of illness (especially with age), the desperate anxiety of money problems; life is full of pain. The pain is real; but the better we remember the virtue of patience, and the greater our hope and joy, the easier it becomes to bear the painful times.

And finally, pray. Our minds cannot hold but a few thoughts at a time. When we think about the tasks of this world, we cannot hold God fully in our minds. We cannot possibly remember the lessons we have learned, while we are watching tv or thinking about our troubles. Prayer is the time when we can empty our minds of the world, and remember hope and patience. We can remember how great is our goal, and this will give us comfort and joy.

Saint Paul
Saint Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna, ca. 1482. The sword, book, and bare feet are all symbolic: the sword of the Word of God, representing his extraordinary power of preaching; the book, representing his knowledge and wisdom; and his bare feet, his poverty and humility. (In real life he wore sandals and carried neither weapons nor books.)

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Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV): Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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