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Daily Devotion for March 8, 2018


<i>The Deluge</i>, by William Turner, ca. 1805.
The Deluge, by William Turner, ca. 1805.

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.




Thank You Jesus

Oh dear sweet, loving Jesus: How often I forget that it is because of You that I live. You made all of us from the very dust that You created. Then You did the most wondrous of all things, You made us in Your image and You breathed life into us. I join those praying with me today in thanking you for our lives, and we pray that You continue to sustain us each day. From Your heavenly place accept our prayers and our praise.

Amen.

Prayer for God’s Help

Bow down your ear, O Lord, and hear me, for I am suffering. I am poor and needy. Preserve my life; I am holy, because you are my God. Save your servant who trusts in you.

Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to you all day long. Bring joy to the soul of your servant, for I lift up my soul to you. You are good, and you are quick to forgive, abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you. Hear my prayer, O Lord. Listen to my cry for help.

Amen.

Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)

Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!

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.


Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

What Bible verse tells us to accept others whose “faith is weak,” without arguing about disputable matters?

Answer: Romans 14:1



endless knot

Mark 13:35 (KJV)

Watch ye, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.


Blue Latin Cross

1 Samuel 15:1-23 (abridged) (ESV)

Samuel said to Saul, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs; everything that was good.

Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, and told him that the Lord was angry at his disobedience. Saul pleaded that he had taken cattle and sheep as plunder, in order to sacrifice to the Lord at Gilgal.

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”


Notes on the Scripture

C

hapter 15 of Samuel, much abbreviated here, challenges two notions that many Christians hold in the back of their mind, but which need to be examined. First, the inherent sanctity of human life, which we will examine today; and second, the idea that democracy is somehow ordained by God, or a Christian form of government, which we will examine tomorrow.

The Amalekites are special enemies of Israel. In Exodus 17, they attacked the Hebrews coming out of Sinai, and God swore blood vengeance on them: “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

This explains the Lord’s unusual command, that every living Amalekite creature be destroyed. Note that the slaughter of infants would be murder, forbidden by the Fifth Commandment, except that the order comes from God Himself. There is no inherent sanctity to human life. Only God is sacred, and every other holy or sacred thing becomes so only by God’s will. As Christians, we do hold human life sacred, but only by God’s commandment. To hold the sanctity of human life above God’s will is the error of humanism.

God has and will destroy human life. One need only think of Noah, where the entire population of earth was wiped out, save Noah and his family. Even a person who does not take the story of Noah literally must admit the meaning: humanity is subject to God’s judgment. And the New Testament tells us, without any wiggle room, that those who do not avail themselves of God’s (freely given) grace will suffer eternal destruction. The Bible does not tell us God might judge us; it tells us that God will judge us.

One sees this dichotomy in the logic of the humanist statement: “I do not believe in God; how could a good God allow so much suffering?” To say this, one must see oneself, or at least human beings, as the ultimate good in the universe. But when we understand that good is God — our Creator, not ourselves — we turn the question on its head: “Why is God so loving and good, that He will relieve the suffering and death that nature (including human nature) inflicts upon us?”



Peacock as resurrection motif
Ancient motif of the Resurrection, from St. Mary’s Church, Ireland.

Daily Inspiration

“ A Dark Place ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:40 (NASB): If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.



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