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Daily Devotion for January 22, 2015

<i>Crucifixion (detail)</i> by Egon Schiele, ca. 1890.
Crucifixion (detail) by Egon Schiele, ca. 1890.



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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 Belong to Christ

Oh loving Lord Christ, so eager to die that I might live,
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
Put me to doing; put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you;
Exalted for you, or brought low for you;
Let me be full, let me be empty;
Let me have all things; let me have nothing.
I freely and with my whole heart yield all things to your will and direction.
And now, oh glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. Let this be for eternity, I pray.


For Those in Need of Strength

I  pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,



[God will give me courage to do His work.]


The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.


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.

Ghent Altar (detail) by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, ca. 1432.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 (ESV)

Are You a God nearby,
And not a God far away?
Can anyone hide in secret places
So that You cannot see him?
Do You not fill heaven and earth?

Blue Latin Cross

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (DP)


15 See that nobody repays evil with evil; you must always pursue goodness, no matter who, no matter what.

16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything you do: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Verbatim Bible

15 See not someone evil with evil to someone repays, but always the good pursue both for each other and for all.

16 Always rejoice,

17 unceasingly pray,

18 in everything give thanks; for this is will of god in Christ Jesus for you.

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - 1 Thess. 5

Notes on the Scripture

Verse 15 reminds us of Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:39, 44)

But where Jesus taught the principles, Paul acts as His executive to bring the teaching into action. Here, there are three parties involved: Someone who has wronged another, the person who is wronged, and a church member who intervenes. The word “See that” implies that someone is keeping watch for when this occurs, and that he is ready to insert himself into the argument to bring peace, to remind the injured party that retaliation is contrary to Christ's teaching.

It is not meddling to remind someone not to retaliate for a wrong, and chiding a person who has retaliated is not punishment. It is, rather, an act of love towards the injured person. Hating one's neighbor and seeking revenge is Satan's breeding ground. To take revenge only ensures that the injured party will be injured a second time; he will compound his worldly injury by adding to it a self-inflicted spiritual injury.


here is another short phrase, at the end of verse 15, that answers an enormous question: “and for all.” It is comparatively easy to make peace within a small community, for one might expect a benefit — one's own forgiveness in the future. Secular societies have civil laws to ensure peace within a closed set of people living under the same rules. The most atheist of rulers does not want blood feuds erupting in his jurisdiction.

But Paul does not say “each other.” He says, “to each other and to all.” This word “allThe Greek word is pantas, which has a root recognizable to English speakers, “pan-”. We use it to indicate universality, e.g. Pan-American, meaning all countries in the New World, or panacea, originally meaning something that cures all diseases.” is not qualified: it means 100% of everyone who exists.

One of the major hypocrisies we see in many churches today is militaristic anger and demands for revenge against Arab or Islamic nations. Churches worship the Prince of Peace at one point, and the next minute demand that their nation rain death from the sky on others. The hypocrisy is doubly compounded when the same people insist that their country is a “Christian nation.”

Christ taught us, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24-26) Somehow, the meaning of His words seems to bounce off peoples' minds. Taking up a cross does not mean paying lip-service to a symbol. It means preparing to accept physical death in preference to committing sin. In real terms, we might not be ready to do this, but at least it serves as a point towards which we must try to grow in our faith.

Paul, like Christ, leaves no wiggle room concerning our duty to forgive others, both inside and outside our church, and to forgo retaliation. And if we find it impossible to follow the rule, we must at least recognize it. To preach retaliation inside a church, as Paul taught us in the verses directly preceding, is a curse on the teacher. It is “anathema”.

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Jude 1:17-18: But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”

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