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Daily Devotion for March 5, 2016


The “armor of God”
The “armor of God” can look like a simple cloth robe. Daniel in the Lions’ Den by Henry Oswego Tanner, ca. 1907.

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.

For “Oldies Saturday” we have something extra special: Elvis and the Jordanaires performing “Peace in the Valley” on the Ed Sullivan Show. It’s a 1937 song written by Thomas A. Dorsey (the “grandfather of black gospel”) for Mahalia Jackson.




Prayer to Love Others Today

Oh holy Christ, who has commanded us to love others as ourselves, it is a challenge to follow this commandment; many times every day I judge another, or grow angry, or look down upon someone. Or, I am simply selfish. I try to brag subtly, so that others will glorify me without me seeming conceited. I buy shiny new things I do not need just so that other people will be impressed. Sometimes, I pretend to love others, when inside I know my words are a lie.

My prayer is that you will help me to burn your love on my heart, so that I may know the peace of loving my fellow man. Let me be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let me seek my glory in you, Lord Christ, instead of in my own image, my own fame or status; for status is no more than vanity, that will disappear in the blink of an eye. Soften my heart so that I feel true sympathy, and so I value others just as I do myself.

May your Holy Spirit, who is with me, guide me in everything I think and do, this day and always.

Amen.

For a Blessing on the Families of the Land

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary person in the comfort of families; I commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, I beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of boastful vanity, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to the parents; and fill us all with true love and charity, so that we put aside petty differences and act with kind affection and the sympathy of brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

[What are the roots of my bitterness?]


Benediction

Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, 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.



endless knot

Psalm 103 (NKJV)

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy Name;
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And forget not all His benefits;

Who forgives all your iniquities
And heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion;
Who satisfies your desire with good things
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Blue Latin Cross
Note: If you have been following our study of Exodus and did not see last Saturday’s devotion, you might want to go back and read the final installment, The Greatest Prophet.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)

The Armor of God

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.



Notes on the Scripture

This wonderful passage has such a flavor of the Puritan preacher; you can almost hear Cotton Mather or Jonathan Edwards declaiming it, loud enough to wake up the back row, with real conviction that they were destined for a flaming hell if they didn't "put on the breastplate of righteousness" that very afternoon.

The ideas of a real hell and fighting forces of evil with God's power is not so popular today. Mainstream theologians and ministers are not so dramatic, but in tempering their message to the sensibilities of the modern congregation, they have lost some truth. The power of evil is great; and it takes the strength of God to overcome it.

But even fighting the small struggles in ourselves, we are wise to put on God's armor in advance. If we encounter temptation unprepared, we will likely give into it. We must read, and pray, and think about our beliefs every day. In the morning we must fasten the belt of truth around our waist, no less than we fasten a leather belt around our pants. The allure of adultery, the automatic flash of anger when someone offends us, the moment when it is easier to ignore someone who needs a kind word — only if we have prepared ourselves can we fight the little voices of evil when the time for action arrives.



Archangel Michael defeats Satan, Guido Reni ca. 1635
St. Michael Archangel by Guido Reni (ca. 1635). The final triumph of light over darkness. Michael, the embodiment of the Church militant, defeats a grotesque Satan in a scene based on the Book of Revelation.

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 1:13 (NKJV): Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?



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