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Daily Devotion for March 10, 2015

Elijah ascends
Elijah: Double Portion by Brenda Wright, contemporary. A depiction of Elijah and Elisha, from 2 Kings 2.



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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.


Prayer for the Morning

Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.


A Prayer by Anne Bronte

My God (oh, let me call Thee mine,
Weak, wretched sinner though I be),
My trembling soul would fain be Thine;
My feeble faith still clings to Thee.

Not only for the Past I grieve,
The Future fills me with dismay;
Unless Thou hasten to relieve,
Thy suppliant is a castaway.

I cannot say my faith is strong,
I dare not hope my love is great;
But strength and love to Thee belong;
Oh, do not leave me desolate!

I know I owe my all to Thee;
Oh, TAKE the heart I cannot give!
Do Thou my strength — my Saviour be,
And MAKE me to Thy glory live.



[The future fills me with dismay unless you hasten to relieve.]

Benediction (from Colossians 3)

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


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>Annunciation and Shepherds</i> from a French <i>Book of Hours</i> (a prayer book), ca. 1425.
Annunciation and Shepherds from a French Book of Hours (a prayer book), ca. 1425.

Psalm 8:1, 3-5 (NKJV)

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 2:19-20 (DP Bible)

Death and Rebirth [2] (Galatians #21)

19-20 Saul the Pharisee is no longer alive. I died on the cross with Christ. For as long as I dwell in this flesh, I live in Christ, who handed Himself over for my sake, out of love for me; and He lives in me.

Verbatim Bible

19 For I by aOr through. law to law died that in god I might live. With Christ I have been co-crucified

20 and live no longer I, but lives in me Christ, and what now I live in flesh, in faith I live in the of the son of god the loving me and handing-over himself for me.

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 2

Notes on the Scripture

. . . cont'd from yesterday.

So, it is easy enough to see what Paul means, by being crucified with Christ, being dead, living in Christ and Christ living in him. But what about us? This leads to a central, and quite a difficult, issue in modern Christianity.


he teachings of both Paul and Christ appear to call for a radical and almost violent change in the believers' life. A knowledgeable Christian learns to pay at least lip service to such ideas as picking up their cross to follow Jesus, dying and being reborn in the Spirit, dying on the cross with Christ, etc. We put aside the natural human, the life in which we live according to sinful instincts: glorification of self, gratification of physical and emotional needs as our prime goal in life, uninhibited pursuit of the pleasures of the world.

But we don't. In many respects, we simply modify our behavior to some degree. Most of us will not even admit how much of Christ's teachings we simply put out of our minds. We compromise. We say, “everybody sins but I live in Christ's forgiveness.”

There is an enormous tension between following Christ as well as we possibly can, and counting on the forgiveness of our continuing sinfulness. On the one hand, we are dead to the law; we cannot save ourselves by our good works. Only through faith in Christ might we find the forgiveness that we will ultimately need to be united with Him in eternity and be found righteous before God’s judgment. We can be justified only by faith; sola fides, faith alone, has the power to save our souls.

The problem is that there are two different ways to read “by faith alone.” First, “only those with faith will be saved”; second, “faith is all one needs for salvation.” People mistakenly hear the second of these, which Martin Luther (and Paul) clearly did not intend, and which is contradicted repeatedly in other parts of the Bible.

“Faith alone” means “only by faith,” that is, only those who have faith can find salvation. It does not mean “alone” in the sense of “faith and nothing else.” To say that faith in Christ will save us, no matter how much we continue to sin after this rebirth, is a defined heresy: antinomianism. (If you are Protestant and associate the word “heresy” with Catholicism, substitute “false prophesy” or “perversion of the Gospel”.) We cannot take the attitude that we can sin all we like while praying to Christ for salvation, because He can forgive all sin. That is what “antinomianism” means.

Christ Himself taught this during His life:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name . . . ? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

We also have a number of similar statements in the post-Gospel New Testament. John tells us bluntly, “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar,” but John also says, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous . . . and He is the atonement for our sins.” (1 John 2:1-6) James tells us, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. . . faith apart from works is useless.” (James 2:17-20)

Will our sins be forgiven through our faith in Christ? Yes. Is there a point at which sinfulness becomes so great that God will deem us faithless? Yes. Where does that point lie? Nobody knows! “For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come . . . .” (1 Cor. 4:4-5)

This is, to my mind, the most perplexing and disturbing area of Christianity. People do not like to hear about it. But it is the Word of God; so we will keep this issue in mind as we read Paul and remember that “death to the law” does not trivialize morality.

endless knot

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“On Comfort”

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John 6:63: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.

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