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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 February 2, 2015

<i>The Ascension</i> by Giotto, ca. 1305.
The Ascension by Giotto, ca. 1305. While many people recognize the name, Giotto di Bondone is not widely recognized outside art history circles as the genius he was. He painted over 200 years before Michelangelo; he literally invented Renaissance art. Although artists improved on his techniques in later centuries, this depiction of the Ascension is sublime.



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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.


God bless Crystal Bowersox, who put the Word into mainstream television about the only way possible: by singing a gospel song on American Idol.

Prayer for Morning

Holy Jesus I am coming and coming to you, because you are my only refuge, my only certainty, my only hope. You are the remedy for all my ills, the comfort for all my miseries, the reparation for all my faults, the supplement for all that is wanting in me, the certainty of all my questions, the infallible and unfailing, inexhaustible source for me of light, of strength, of constancy, of peace and of blessing.

I am sure that you will never leave me and you will not stop loving me, you will never tire of helping me and of protecting me, because you love me with an infinite love.

Have pity on me, Lord, according to your great mercy; and make of me, in me, and for me, all that you wish. Because I abandon myself to you with full and entire confidence that you will never abandon me.


For Those Who Protect Us

Almighty God, I commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women who put themselves in danger for our protection. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



[Christ is the supplement for all that is wanting in me.]

Parting Prayer

Oh Lord as I face creation
Let me see with eyes made clear
By Your promise of salvation,
Never to return to fear.


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.

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Sunday School cross

First Things First

“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

~ Reuben Archer Torrey, American evangelist

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Galatians 1:1-5 (DP Bible)

Greeting (Galatians #1)

1-5 To the Churches of Galatia,

From Paul, an apostle sent, not by mortal men, but by Jesus Christ, and from the brothers who are with me:

Grace to you, and peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to rescue us from this evil world, carrying out the will of the Father. All honor and glory to Him, now and forever.

Verbatim Bible

a. The basic meaning of this preposition (by) is through, but here it indicates personal agency; the most likely meaning is that he is acting as the representative of Christ Himself. The preceding from men (notice that it is plural) might be taken to indicate the source of his Gospel, considering the later arguments in Galatians, or it could be roughly parallel to by man, reinforcing the idea by saying it twice in slightly different ways. Grammatically, man could mean “a man” or “mankind”.
b. Theoretically, this could mean and of Jesus Christ, strengthening the idea of our co-inheritance; but it would be an eccentric reading. c. By extension, delivers.
d. The word translated age is indefinite in term and susceptible to theological interpretation. Grammatically, it might refer to a time period as narrow as a generation or as broad as the time from Adam’s sin to the Second Coming. In some passages, in fact, it refers to the world itself, or human society, more than to a period of time.

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 1

Notes on the Scripture

Galatians opens with the pattern greeting of Paul's epistles. Three elements are consistent: 1) The identify of the immediate intended recipient — immediate, because without fail Paul's letters were widely circulated and often copied. The long-range intended recipients were all Gentile churches and, ultimately, us. 2) The identity of the author(s); and 3) The blessing, “grace to you, and peace,” the first perhaps intended to resonate more with Greek listeners, and the second with Jews. (Even today, Israelis greet one another with the Hebrew word for peace, “Shalom.” ) All three parts of this pattern opening were subject to considerable amplification and explanation, and in some (especially later) epistles, they grow quite long.


obody knows whether Paul wrote Galatians before or after 1 Thessalonians, but they seem to have been written at different times, and likely from a different places. Recall that he named Timothy and Silvanus (Silas) as co-authors of 1 Thess.; their cohort was just the three of them. But here, Paul credits “all the brothers with me.” He seems to haveThis might be a false clue. Paul certainly had many brothers with him in Corinth when he wrote 1 Thess. As we see a little later, it might have been nothing more than a rhetorical choice to mention how many brothers were with him in this letter. Dating this epistle accurately has proven intractably difficult. a larger retinue; and likely, not all of them were known to the churches of Galatia, which had been founded earlier, on Paul's first missionary trip, while the church at Thessalonica had been founded during the second journey, perhaps three months to a year before the letter was written.

It is in Paul's description of himself that the letter begins to get pointed, when he adds to his name “sent, not by mortal men, but by Jesus Christ.” As we will see, this will become the primary topic of Chapter 1. In Galatians, more than any other epistle, Paul lays powerful claim to his status as an actual apostle, appointed and instructed directly by the person of Jesus Christ, of no less stature and authority than Peter.

The last phrase, “from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to rescue us from this evil world,” sounds like boilerplate Christian doctrine, but it has a specific purpose. Paul is about to launch into a harangue against false prophets and warped doctrine. The people who are promoting such doctrine are a part of this “evil world”; rather than being Christ's prophets and preachers, they are the very people from whom Christ saved us, suffering death to do so.

And we can now see an additional dimension to his mentioning “all the brothers.” Paul is not above using every rhetorical trick in the book, and almost certainly, he includes a reference to an unidentified but large-sounding group in order to bolster his authority as a doctrinal leader. He wants the Galatians to perceive him as the norm, and others who preach variant doctrine as lone renegades, perhaps to counterbalance peer pressure that some of the listeners might have been experiencing. Moreover, “the brothers” is synonymous with “the saints” or the “church of Christ.” One might hear a second meaning for “all”, that is, an implication that all of those who have gained justification in God's sight are with Paul.

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James 1:5 (NASB): But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

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