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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 April 20, 2015

(St. George’s Day celebrated in some countries)

<i>The Golden Calf</i> by James Tissot, ca. 1890.
The Golden Calf  by James Tissot, ca. 1890.
“And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”



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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

Compassionate Lord, Your mercies have brought me to the dawn of another day. Vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace, increase in knowledge; ripen for spiritual harvest. Let me this day know You as You are, love You supremely, serve You completely, admire You fully.

Through grace let my will respond to You, knowing that power to obey is not in me, but that Your free love alone enables me to serve You. Here then is my empty heart, overflow it with Your choice gifts; here is my blind understanding, chase away its mists of ignorance.


Prayer for Deliverance

Dear Lord, grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.



[God will deliver us from our trials.]

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.

Virgin and Child, artist unknown, from an altar in Slovakia.
Virgin and Child, artist unknown, from an altar in Slovakia.

On Heaven

But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

~ C. S. Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 4:1-7 (DP Bible)

We Are No Longer Slaves (Galatians #41)

1-2 Think about the eldest son of a great lord. When he is a child, he is little different from one of the servants, because he lives under the authority of nannies, teachers, and guardians. He has no actual power or property of his own - he has to do what they tell him to do, until the time set by his father for him to inherit.

3 We are like this. When we were children, we were under the authority of the visible world, little different from those who are slaves to sin. The Law was our guardian and disciplinarian - not the source of our inheritance.

4-7 But when the time set by the Father arrived, He sent His Son to be born of a woman, a human like us, subject to the Law. As the rightful heir of God’s promise, He received the power to make us co-heirs by adoption and thus become the true children of God. And it is because we are God’s children that He sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts to cry, “Our Dear Father!” Brothers and sisters, you are servants no longer; you are grown sons and daughters, the rightful heirs of God through Jesus Christ.

Verbatim Bible

1 And I say, for so much time the heir child is, not-at-all he differs of slave a Translators imply the word despite here, so that the sentence makes sense; there is no grammatical clue. Perhaps a word was lost over the years. lord of all being,

2 but under guardians is and stewards until the appointed-time of the father.

3 And just so we, when we were children, under bUnder can mean physically under, or subordinate to, just as in English. the elements of the universe cThe meaning of this expression is heavily disputed. It has a range of meaning similar to English “elements”, but has also been taken by scholars to mean a) elemental religions (i.e. more primative pre-Christian religions, including Judaism and pointedly the Mosaic law); b) elemental spirits, the gods of ancient religions corresponding to earth, air, fire and water; c) stars in the sky and/or the zodiac. All of these are reasonably well attested and should be taken seriously. I take the simplest choice, a person responding to the “elements of nature” before knowing God, a person who reacts only to the visible world, as this is the plain lexical meaning, and the reader may supply the interpretation. we were enslaved

4 and when came the fullness dAlt. fulfillment. Greek, but not modern idiomatic English, commonly uses the word “fullness” to indicate the completion of a preordained amount of time; it helps to think of a measuring cup under a faucet becoming full. Using the English word “fullness” unfortunately gives it an artificial, ecclesiastical-Engish tone that few people really understand. The phrase means “when the correct (or established, or preordained) amount of time had passed.” of time, sent-forth god the son of him, being born from woman, being born under eOr subject to. the law,

5 that the under law he might redeem, so that the adoption we might receive.

6 And because you are sons, sent out god the spirit of the son of him into the hearts of us, crying, Abba the father.

7 So no longer you are servant but son and if son, also heir through god.

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 4

About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.

It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.

The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible.

Notes on the Scripture

Newcomers please click here.We are undertaking a very “granular” study of Galatians - that it, we are studying it down to the tiniest details. Part of this involves following the Greek original, which is reflected in the “Verbatim Bible”.

If this is more than you want to take on, feel free to simply ignore the Verbatim Bible part. There will still be some days when the Notes are very nit-picking or technical, but on other days, we examine the broader message of the passage. So read what you like. If one day's Notes are too technical or boring, just skip over them and wait for the next installment!

The first verses of Galatians 4 focus on two dichotomies: childhood vs. adulthood, and slavery vs. freedom. These are combined into the primary idea, that children are always akin to slaves, no matter how high their rank in society, because a lot of people boss them around. (And, in fact, children of kings and queens have notoriously harsh childhoods.)

So, although the Hebrews were beloved of God, they were not ready for the freedom of God's promise. Under God's plan, to bring the forgiveness of Christ into the world before it fully understood why it required forgiveness, would have been premature. Humanity in general, and the Hebrews in particular, were not ready for a fully intimate personal relationship with God, because they did not understand His will; they did not understand what was and was not sinful, and consequently, they could not grasp their own inability to free themselves from sin.

They did not have, in other words, sufficient moral and spiritual development to be given their inheritance. Of course, they were grown men and women, but in this sense, they were like children. The difficulty of the task is reflected in the length and contents of the Old Testament histories. Time and time again, the Hebrews would simply return to “square one.” They would worship Ba'al or Asherath, or some other pagan deity. It took thousands and thousands of years of slow development.

There is a great lesson in this for modern Christians. All of us, to some degree, fail to experience the real freedom and joy of our salvation, because we live as slaves. On the day we are born, we become slaves to nature, in two senses. We must deal with the physical world, of course. And we must deal with our natural instincts, which can tempt us to sin.

Secondly, most of us are slaves to the Law of Moses. Few people understand hypocrisy in this sense, but when we hate somebody who has done some evil, or when we pride ourselves on our good behavior — for that matter, even when we feel shame about our sin — we become the slaves of morality, the modern-day successor to the Law.

It is as if we have been given our freedom as a gift, but then give it back, because we want to go out an earn it for ourselves. “Brothers and sisters,” Paul tells us, “you are servants no longer; you are grown sons and daughters, the rightful heirs of God through Jesus Christ.” We must know our sin; and we must strive to follow God's commandments, but not to be loved by Him, but to show our love for Him. We do not need to earn God's love; we need to accept it. And as He forgives us, so we must forgive ourselves, and others.

So this is part of our inheritance: Freedom from guilt and shame. When we talk about “joy”, it includes becoming free of these painful thoughts and emotions.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“How Much Forgiveness?”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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