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Welcome back, Friend.

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 3, 2015

<i>Interior Of The Franciscan Church, Salzburg</i>,  by Rudolf Ritter von Alt, ca. 1840.
Interior Of The Franciscan Church, Salzburg by Rudolf Ritter von Alt, ca. 1840.



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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.


Simple Gifts is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by a hardscrabble Maine farmer, Joseph Brackett. The Shakers would use it as a dance song as well as a hymn.

Prayer for the Work of This Day

Almighty God, thank you for the work my hand may find this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer you my work, as well as I may accomplish it, in your praise.


For Renewal of the Holy Spirit

O Lord, renew in our own days your miracles like a second Pentecost. Grant that the Church, re-united in prayer, may extend the kingdom of Jesus - a kingdom of truth and justice, of love and peace.


Prayer to Give Witness When Called Upon

Oh my God, I wish I could convert as many lost souls as there are grains of sand in the sea, as many as there are leaves on the trees, plants in the fields, atoms in the air, stars in the sky, rays in the sun or the moon, creatures on the face of the earth. Loose my tongue Oh God that it may never be still in the face of embarrassment or hostility; put your words upon it, that I might serve you and know what to say, that I may never be at a loss of words when I am called upon to help those who seek you. And let me speak always in love and respect of others, this day and always,



[Let me speak in love.]


May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.


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 Conversion of Saul (detail)</i>, Michelangelo ca. 1545.
The Conversion of Saul (detail), Michelangelo ca. 1545.

Proverbs 23:23 (The Message)

Buy truth—don’t sell it for love or money;
Buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.

Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 1:6-9 (DP Bible)

One Gospel (Galatians #2)

6-8 I am astonished to hear that you have deserted the true Gospel of Christ and have begun to follow perverted “gospels” taught to you by fakes and con men. I call these “gospels”, but it is a misnomer. There is one and only one Gospel: the one I have taught you. If I myself should come and preach something different to you – if an angel should descend from the heavens and tell you something different – turn your back and walk away. These teachings, and those who promote them, are accursed!

9 I have said it before and I will say it again, in writing: those who teach their own thoughts and call them the Word of God are accursed.

Verbatim Bible

6 I am astonished that so quickly you switch eOr desert. from the calling you in fAlt. by. grace of Christ into other gospel,

7 which not exists other; except some are the disturbing you and wanting to redirect gOr pervert, or distort. the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we or angel from heaven were to evangelize different from what we have evangelized to you, he/it hThere is no prounoun (he or it) in the original text; Greek prounouns are often, as here, implied. The subject could thus be either he or it, referring to the speaker or the false gospel itself. As with many Pauline ambiguities, the best course is to assume he meant both. is cursed iThe last phrase is imperative in form and the shallow and immediate reading (seen in many Bibles) is He (or it) must be cursed, or let him (it) be accursed. But that is not what it means. This is a “pronouncement imperative”, since a person can hardly be required to curse himself. (The form is not such that it can be read as a command for the listener to curse such a person.) It is an emphatic way of saying he is cursed immediately by his act. See Wallace at 492. .

9 As we have said before, and now again I say, if someone you evangelizes with different from what you received, he jOr it. is anathema kAnathema, oddly, is a perfect transliteration of the Greek word used here and in v. 10. It means to be the object of God’s disfavor. Paul comes as close as possible to saying “damned” without foregoing the possibility of repentence.

e. Or desert.
f. Alt. by.
g. Or pervert, or distort.
h. Possibly it.
i. The last phrase is imperative in form: He must be cursed, or let him be cursed. But that is not the meaning. This is a “pronouncement imperative”, since a person can hardly be required to curse himself. (The form is not such that it can be read as a command for the listener to curse such a person.) It is an emphatic way of saying he is cursed immediately by his act. See Wallace at 492.
j. Or it.
k. Anathema, oddly, is a perfect transliteration of the Greek word used here and in v. 10. It means to be the object of God’s disfavor. Paul comes as close as possible to saying damned without foregoing the possibility of repentence.

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 1

Notes on the Scripture

Paul wastes no time. His first words are a scorching rebuke to the churches of Galatia. How much more different could it be from the beginning of the first epistle we studied? “We always remember you in our prayers, giving thanks to God for . . . the steadfastness of your hope and your love in Jesus Christ . . . . ” (1 Thess. 1:2-3)

In fact, if we jump ahead a bit and view Galatians in light of Paul's typical epistle, there is a striking omission. At the beginning of Roman, 1 Corinthians, Philemon, Colossians, both Thessalonian epistles, all of the pastoral epistles, and Ephesians (at the end), in addition to a blessing, Paul gives a thanksgiving for the recipient's faith. There is no thanksgiving here! Instead, there is a curse.

Paul says that he is astonished. Although he is given to rhetorical effect, we must never doubt his sincerety. He is not using such strong language simply for its effect; he was undoubtably in a state of high emotion: confusion and shock. We must remember what it cost him to bring the Gospel to Galatia. Years of his life spent in contant discomfort, far away from the support of his church family, always in the midst of hostile people who would arrest him, imprison him, beat him and, once, stone him and leave him for dead.

Imagine suffering and toiling as he did, in order to save the souls of those few who would listen, and then learn later that they had given up their salvation for some nonsense preached to them by a theological huckster. If anyone doubts that Paul was empowered by a supernatural force, they do not grasp his life. As he himself previously hinted (1 Thess. 2:2), he could not have done what he did under human power. God's Holy Spirit filled him with superhuman capacity of endurance.

C. S. Lewis said of Christ:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”

One might say something similar about Paul, for doubters always attack his apostleship. Paul is a lightning rod for people who want to rewrite the Bible, especially in the past few decades. But how could he have done what he did and not be the agent of God? Well, we are jumping ahead a bit, because Paul himself will advance a similar argument in the second half of the chapter.

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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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