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Daily Devotion for April 17, 2016


Matthew 3:17

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.

This old video of a parade in London in 1910 shows how much fire William Booth and the Salvation Army once had in their bellies. How we could use a man like that today!




Call to Sunday Worship

O  Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers of your people who call upon you; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

A General Intercession

O  Lord Jesus Christ our God, who in your mercy and all-loving kindness regards the prayers of all who call upon you with their whole heart, incline your ear and hear my prayer, now humbly offered unto you:

Be mindful, O Lord, of the church of all who believe and confess the name of Jesus Christ; confirm and strengthen it, increase it and keep it in peace, and preserve it unconquerable forever. Be mindful, O Lord, of all priests, ministers, pastors, deacons, bishops, and others known by whatever title, who work as Christian leaders, for you have established them to feed the flock of the Word. And by their prayers, have mercy upon me and save me, a sinner.

Be mindful, O Lord, of all civil authorities, of our Armed Forces, of this city in which I dwell, and of every city and land; grant us peaceful times, that we may lead a calm and tranquil life in all godliness and sanctity.

Be mindful, O Lord, of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my relatives and friends, and all who are near and dear to me, (name those who you wish to remember), and grant them mercy, life, peace, health, salvation and visitation, and pardon and remission of sins; that they may evermore praise and glorify your holy Name.

Be mindful, O Lord, of those who travel by land, and sea, and air; of the young and the old; orphans and widows; the sick and the suffering; the sorrowing and the afflicted, all captives, and the needy poor; upon them all send forth your mercies, for you are the Giver of all good things.

Be mindful, O Lord, of me, your humble servant; grant me your grace, that I may be diligent and faithful; that I may avoid evil company and influence, and resist all temptation; that I may lead a godly and righteous life, blameless and peaceful, ever serving you, that I may be accounted worthy at the last to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Be mindful, O Lord, of all those who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection unto life eternal, especially (name those you wish to remember); pardon all their transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, whether in word, or deed, or thought. Shelter them in a place of verdure, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away, and where the sight of your countenance rejoices all your Saints from all the ages. Grant them your heavenly Kingdom, and a portion in your ineffable and eternal blessings, and the enjoyment of your unending Life.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, for you are merciful and compassionate, and love mankind, and to you are due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Amen.

Prayer of Resolve

I  bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day and through the coming week.

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 9:1-2 (NKJV)

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

John Baptizes Jesus

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”



Notes on the Scripture

Most people reading the Gospel will find themselves sympathetic to John's astonished question: “Do you come to me?” Why would Jesus Christ want to be baptized? He did not need to be cleansed of his sin, for he was without sin.

The only Gospel that gives any real explanation is John: “I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” (John 1:31) And indeed, how were people suppose to recognize this humble carpenter's son as the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the World?

John the Baptist was, we must remember, Christ's herald. The sole purpose of his baptism ministry was to prepare for the coming of one greater than himself; his message was: “Make straight the way of the Lord” — prepare yourselves for the kingdom of God.

G

od wanted Jesus baptized — or, if you will, Jesus wanted John to baptize him — so that his arrival would be unmistakable. For reasons we will never know, he had spent most of his first thirty years incognito, for the most part simply being a human being. In short, if you will excuse the pun, he wanted to make a splash.

There were at least two additional side effects for the benefit of the Jews. First, baptism was performed by the Jews only upon converts. A full-blooded, circumcised Jew, being born into righteousness, had no need of baptism: or so they thought. Baptism was for sinners. But if Jesus, whose bloodline was impeccable, underwent baptism, how could devout Jews think that should not require it?

Jesus' baptism symbolized, effectively, the end of the covenant of Moses. It was the “fulfillment of righteousness,” the moment at which the contract was fulfilled.

Secondly, much of Judaic theology looked for Elijah to return and act as the herald of the Messiah. Although John the Baptist denied that he was actually Elijah (John 1:24-27), his preparatory work, his office as a prophet, was validated.

No explanation or commentary can add anything to the wonderful moment when Christ arises from the water of the River Jordan. He is met by a physical manifestation of both the Holy Spirit, as a visible sign, and God the Father, as an audible sign. Christ, the man, is fully God. It is the moment when he is fully revealed to us.

The dove, among the Jews (as among many societies), was the symbol of purity of heart, harmlessness, and gentleness. For the Spirit to descend on Jesus as a dove signified the startling truth: the Messiah was far from the sword-wielding belligerent, the mighty general to unite the armies of Israel against their Roman oppressor, that the Jews were expecting.




The Holy Spirit as a dove, devotional painting

Daily Inspiration

“God on Earth”

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Memory Verse

James 2:17: Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.



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