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Daily Devotion for November 8, 2014

Three Marys at the Tomb by Jan and/or Hubert van Eyck, ca. 1430. This wonderful early painting shows the account of Mark 16:1, the only of the Gospels that clearly identifies "Three Marys" discovering Jesus’ empty tomb: Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Jesus’ disciple Salome, called "Mary Salome". The soldiers, who have been rendered unconscious with fear by seeing the angel, appear only in Matthew 28.
Jerusalem looks very Northern European, as does the central soldier; the others may have been modeled on Saracens from the crusades.



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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.


To Help Others This Day

Heavenly Lord, I pray that this day, you will continue to bless me, that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don’t know you intimately. I pray that others will find your strength, so that they can love and help one another. I pray for those who don’t believe, that they may find you.

And when this world closes in on me, let me remember the example of my Lord and Savior: to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. Remind me, nudge me, let me remember to find you when I’m feel like I'm pushed beyond my limits. In Christ's name, I come to you,


A Prayer of Abandonment to the Holy Spirit:

Holy Spirit, God of Love, be present to me; accept the offering of myself which I make to you. Receive these hands, these feet, these eyes, this tongue, and all my senses. Receive my memory, my will, my understanding, my desires, my sighs, the longings and the aspirations of my soul. Receive my every hour, my every moment, and all the happenings of my life. Holy Spirit, God of Love, knit my soul to you. Let your love possess my whole being - my senses, my powers, my affections, my very life. Let your love rule my labor and my rest, my going and my staying, and move me as it pleases. Let your love disquiet or comfort me, humble or exalt me, and burn away all my faults.

Holy Spirit, God of Love, draw me to yourself. Do with me what you will. Nothing will cause me fear if only your love enfolds me. I ask confidently because your desire to give is greater than mine to receive. Transform me into yourself, so that I may no longer know myself, nor find myself, except in you.



[Offering one's self to God entirely.]


God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.


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.

The Prophet Isaiah by Marc Chagall, ca. 1956.
The Prophet Isaiah by Marc Chagall, ca. 1956.

Psalm 2:1-4 (The Voice)

What has provoked the nations to embrace anger and chaos?
Why are the people making plans to pursue their own vacant and empty greatness?

Leaders of nations stand united;
rulers put their heads together,
plotting against the Eternal One and His Anointed King,
trying to figure out
How they can throw off the gentle reign of God’s love,
step out from under the restrictions of His claims to advance their own schemes.

The Power of heaven laughs at their silliness.
The Eternal mocks their ignorant selfishness.

Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 51:16-19 (NKJV)

Hebrew Poetic Style

Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which has drunk the cup of Jehovah's wrath at his hand. You have drunk the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it.

There is nobody to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither are there any that take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has raised.

These two things are befallen thee, and who shall moan for you? Desolation and destruction, famine and the sword; how can I comfort you?

Your sons have fainted and lie in the streets, like antelopes in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of your God.

Notes on the Scripture

Isaiah uses a poetic form similar to that used in the Psalms. It consists of a statement followed by a response. Hebrew poets used this one-two rhetorical device in a number of ways. For example:

1) The response is often a restatement, usually with some variation: “There is nobody to guide her” . . . “neither are there any to take her by the hand.”;

2) The response may answer a question posed in the verse;

Isaiah by Lorenzo Monaco

3) The response may explain the verse: “Your sons have fainted” . . . “they are full of the wrath of Jehovah.”;

4) The response may give a second idea that is related to the first. This is common in Proverbs, where there may be a string of responses, e.g. “Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.”

5) The response may give a consequence of the verse, e.g. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”;

6) The response may give an opposite example, e.g. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Often this form is nested, with statement/response verses forming a larger statement/response form between verses. Look at the verses 1-2 of Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on His law he meditates day and night.

The first verse is a statement, followed by a pair of variation responses (“nor stands .. . nor sits . . .”) The second verse consists of a statement (“but his delight . . .”), then a response that repeats and elaborates the first statement (“and upon his law . . .”). Also, however, the first verse is a statement and the second verse is a response, a positive comparison to the negatively stated first verse. Verse one tells us something a blessed man does not do; the second verse answers with the contrary, showing us how the blessed man does act.

This technique of parallelism is the heart of Hebrew poetry, and skill in its use is the mark of the poet's skill, much like rhyming the final word of a verse and following a specific rhythm (the form most familiar to us) became the sign of skill in English poetry of the 17th-19th centuries. To understand the ancient poetic form gives us an extra dimension of beauty and meaning when we read the Old Testament; instead of finding them odd or even ungainly, we can find the beauty hidden in them.

With this in mind, we can see the gracefulness in today's verses, even though we read them in translation: “There is nobody to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither are there any that take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has raised.” Isaiah is not trying to bore us by saying the same thing twice. This is a beautiful and skillful song style, and the listener looked forward to the restatement of the theme.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

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Memory Verse

Psalm 94:12: Blessed is the man You discipline, O Lord, The man You teach from Your word.

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