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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 November 25, 2014

<i>O ‘Dem Golden Slippers</i> by Ruth Starr Rose, ca. 1947.
O ‘Dem Golden Slippers by Ruth Starr Rose, ca. 1947. Rose was a tremendously talented illustrator/artist,
self-taught, who specialized in the graphic depiction of African-American gospel songs.



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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.


The Love of Christ

Oh holy Christ, I thank you and love you for seeing who I really am. You know things about me that I don't even know myself, for you see with the clear eye of God, and not through the psychological tangle of human emotion and self-deception as others see me and I see myself. I most especially thank you, I fall upon my knees in gratitude, that you love me despite all of the sin and ugliness you see in me. You can see my beauty and heart, also, though, and love me as nobody else possibly could.

Like a father, you love me. Like a perfect brother, you love me. Knowing that you see me so clearly, and yet love me enough to suffer torture and death to save my soul, transcends my comprehension. I would be sick with shame, except that you have forbidden it, and by the power of God forgive my wrongdoing.

I give myself to you wholly, freely; every part of me blesses you. Take me to your bosom, holy Christ; let me live your love and reflect your light, that others may see a dim reflection of your magnificence in my lowly life, and that despite my many grievous faults, I might please you by doing better today, and every day. And this I vow: I will try, at least once today, to take a step closer to you, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Prayer for Freedom from Fear

O  Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.



[I have nothing to fear, because my future is with Christ.]


God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus 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.

<i>The Archangel Michael</i>
The Archangel Michael

Was Paul Important?

In the last century, scholars have come to appreciate Paul as the actual founder of the religious movement that would become Christianity.

~ “Paul of Tarsus”, Ancient History Encyclopedia

Blue Latin Cross

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (DP)

1-2 We commend you on how well you have followed our teachings about the Gospel. We want to encourage you in this, so that you will always walk before God in a way that pleases him, enjoying an ever-increasing abundance of the fruits of the Spirit.


1 Finally therefore, brothers, we ask you and exhort you in lord Jesus, that just as you received from us the how should you to walk 1By extension, to live or to behave. This is just as in English, only the Greek verb more precisely means walk around. and to please god, just as already you are walking2Or in this manner also you must walk (live); the indicative and imperative forms are identical here, and one must decide from context whether Paul is reinforcing his previous directions to them, or whether he is telling them they are already doing it but encouraging them to continue., that you might have abundance more.

2 For you know what commands we gave to you through 3Or on behalf of. the lord Jesus.

v1 - 1By extension, to live. This is just as in English, only the Greek verb more precisely means walk around.
    2 Or in this manner also you must walk (live); the indicative and imperative forms are identical here, and one must decide from context whether Paul is reinforcing his previous directions to them, or whether he is telling them they are already doing it but encouraging them to continue.
v2 - 3 Or on behalf of.

Notes on the Scripture

Living the Gospel

hapter 4:1-12 comprises a distinct section of 1 Thessalonians, concerning how Christians should live their lives — how they should behave. Unlike the indirect hortatory“Hortatory” means speech that encourages or advises people on what they should do, i.e., speech that exhorts. It is called direct when the speaker says straightforwardly, “Do such-and-such”.

It is called indirect when the speaker is not telling the listener what to do, but does imply that one manner of acting is superior to another. A mother telling her daughter “I always wash my hands before cooking dinner” probably intends to lead her daughter to do the same, by indirect hortatory.
of the first three chapters, Paul now switches to direct hortatory.

Notice that Paul says “you have followed our teachings.” Paul is not being bossy. He is all they have. In fact, he is arguably the only reliable source of Christian knowledge in Greece. He does not tell them “follow the Word of God” for two very good reasons: 1) the Bible does not exist, and 2) most of them cannot read, anyway. He does refer to the Scripture, at times, but when he does he means the Old Testament.

The wide acceptance of Paul's teaching as gospel — literally — shows the enormous degree of confidence both the church and the people placed in his glorification as a full-fledged apostle of Christ. The church, because the two main centers at Antioch and Jerusalem sent him out as their primary missionary to Anatolia and Greece. The people, because they changed their lives, to the point of suffering and dying, based on what Paul taught. They would later have the Holy Spirit to guide them, as well, but they had to believe Paul first, to find the faith needed for repentance and baptism.

We see, then, that these illiterate and persecuted Thessalonian Greeks were our very brothers and sisters; for Paul's words are still today the Word of God to proper Christians. We might read them rather than hear them, but they mean to us exactly what they meant to the Greeks. It might support the idea that some people are called to Christ, considering what they put to risk based on one man's bizarre claims! But their perception was accurate, for it stood the test of centuries of examination until the canon was finalized, and thereafter became a primary religious foundation of the Western world.

The significance of his words today are exactly what they were to people in Thessalonica, two thousand years ago.

Translation Notes

For those of you who are enjoying a “glimpse behind the curtain” of Bible translation, today's verses illustrate a major issue (although it makes only a slight difference theologically). Paul tells the Thessalonians that “we explained to you how to walk before God” and then says either 1) “which you are already following” or 2) “and you must follow them” (literally, “just as also you must follow”).

The Greek words for “already following” and “also must follow” are identical! (More technically, the second-person plural active imperative is identical to the indicative, and the Greek word “kai”, which basically means “and”, can have dozens of other meanings — “and yet”, “nevertheless”, “that is”, “namely”, “both”, “not only/but also”, “even”, “also”, “still”, to name a few.)

Even the most raw, literal, word-for-word translation possible is going to require subjective selection of meaning. Here, translators universally choose the first meaning, because in the first two chapters Paul bends over backwards congratulating them on their good behavior, and also frequently says things like “as you already know”. So, the first option, “as you are already doing,” makes sense in context. Yet, even with such good contextual rationale, Paul could easily have meant to say the second option. Hence all the footnotes: to be fully transparent, all one can do is note other possible translations.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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