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Daily Devotion for March 13, 2015


<i>The Crucifixion</i> by James Tissot, ca. 1890.
The Crucifixion by James Tissot, ca. 1890.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.




Prayer for the Day

Holy God, who taught the hearts of all faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit; Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day. I pray in the name of my beloved Lord, Jesus Christ,

Amen.

For All Who Misuse the Gift of Sex

Heavenly Father, I pray for your guidance to all people who have fallen into the pit of sexual immorality, especially those who earn money from, or openly abuse, the gift of sex you have given us: Adulterers; prostitutes and those who go to them; active homosexuals; those who are given to fornication; pederasts, and all drawn to abnormal expression of your gift; pornographers and their audience; those who seek to lust; and all those who teach that morality is illusory, make excuses, and encourage others to misuse their sexual nature.

Help them, and all of us, to admit and confess our sin, and to seek to amend our lives, that we might find the full measure of your love and your eternal joy. Where I have misused my sexual nature, send your Holy Spirit to me, so that I might fight the temptation to lustful conduct every day; and I pray that all who desire it, may find satisfaction of their needs within a happy and Godly marriage.

In Christ’s name I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

[Help me to direct my physical drives so that they will not lead me into sin.]


Benediction

God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Amen.


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>Melancholy</i> by Odilon Redon, ca. 1915.
Melancholy by Odilon Redon, ca. 1915. The figure despairs, looking away from the sun rising behind her.

Proverbs 8:6-7 (NASB)

Listen, for I will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.

For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.


Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 3:1 (DP Bible)

Are You Bewitched? (Galatians #23)

1 Oh, ignorant Galatians, who has bewitched you? Christ was crucified in public, before your very eyes, yet you seem to have forgotten it.

Verbatim Bible

1 Oh ignorant Galatians, what you bewitches, to whom before eyes Jesus Christ was publicly–displayed being-crucified?

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 3


Notes on the Scripture

Chapter 3 begins a new section of Galatians. Although Paul wove theological arguments into his description of the incident where he corrected Peter’s lapse, it was still part of the first primary point of Galatians: That Paul’s gospel — Paul’s teaching about Christ — was inspired by God. Paul's teachings were not the product of his own mind or something he learned from others (in particular from Peter, John, or James). He received it by revelation, directly from Christ.

C

hapter 3 is a meaningful break point. Paul's argument of divine inspiration concludes at the end of Ch. 2 and he begins to address the primary purpose of the letter. Some members of the Galatian churches had begun to follow aberrant and incorrect teaching. He has not identified the specific error (as he will later in Ch. 3), but he considers it serious; he seems to imply that following these false teachers will deprive their followers of salvation altogether. But even if not, the false teachings are “cursed”, certainly detrimental to growth in the faith.

Paul wastes no time. He really lights into them. His first words are “ignorant Galatians”, which is hardly flattering, but the implications of “what (or who) has bewitched you” is even more dire. Those promoting the false teachings are witches, people using magic to work supernatural corruption on the Galatians' minds.

The connotation of “bewitched” is much more serious than it sounds to us now. Witches were not a harmless Halloween legend, silly crones riding brooms and turning people into frogs for children's stories; they were people doing Satan's work, by his dark power. The implication is that the false teachers are not innocent and misinformed; they are evil. They are actively fighting for the forces of hell.

Paul goes on to argue that Christ was crucified before their eyes. We don't know how literally he means this. There might be witnesses to the actual crucifixion among the members of Galatian churches, and there might not. But he emphasizes the public setting of the crucifixion, bringing the point home: Jesus was crucified in public, his body put on display for the world to see. Nobody (even today) crediblyTacitus, a non-Christian Roman historian, relates the event, as does the 1st century Jewish historian, Josephus. Neither mention is flattering and, thus, are not suspected Christian forgeries. argues that the crucifixion did not occur.

Thus he begins his argument with a point that any church member must concede. Christ was crucified and died. A reader who had put the fact out of his mind might well be disturbed by Paul's words. “Why have I not been thinking about the crucifixion?” “Was it not the most important event of all time, to me?”

And it is just as disturbing to most of us, when we ask ourselves the same question. Most Christians have the experience of doing something, or many things, not totally consistent with their faith, in response to an un-Christian message: a magazine ad, a tv commercial, a suggestion from a nonbeliever, etc. They might not be using black magic; but they bewitch us, for the image of Jesus on the cross recedes from our minds, and the image of a car with leather seats or a man or woman with a tight midriff replaces Him at the forefront of our minds.





endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Isaiah 26:5: The Lord humbles those who dwell on high and lays the lofty city low; He levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust.



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