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Daily Devotion for April 2, 2018


<i>John the Baptist Baptizes the People</i>, Nicholas Poussin ca. 1635.
John the Baptist Baptizes the People (detail), by Nicholas Poussin, ca. 1635.

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.




Good Morning Heavenly Father

Good Morning Heavenly Father, and thank You for the glory of the sun. And thank You for the health I have to get my duty done. I shall devote the hours of this golden day to You, by honoring Your Holy Name in everything I do. I will pursue my daily art without complaint or fear and spend my every effort to be friendly and sincere. I know there have been many days that I have whiled away. But this is one that I will try, to make Your special day. And so once more, Good Morning Heavenly Father. And please depend on me because I want to honor You for all eternity.

Amen.

To Awaken in Christ’s Body

I  awaken in Christ’s body as Christ awakens my body, and my poor hand is Christ. He enters my foot, and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfully my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him (for God is indivisibly Whole, seamless in His Godhood). I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning.

Do my words seem blasphemous? Then I must open my heart to You and let myself receive the One who is opening to me so deeply. For if I genuinely love You, I wake up inside Your body where all my body, all over, every most hidden part of it, is realized in joy as You, and You make me utterly and real. Everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to me dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in You transformed and recognized as whole, as lovely, and radiant in Your light.

Awaken, Beloved Son of God, in every last part of my body.

Amen.

Meditation

[Everything in me that seems irreparably damaged is transformed.]


Dedication

Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.

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 147:5-7 (NKJV)

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God.


Blue Latin Cross

John 1:19-23 (ESV)

The Testimony of John the Baptist (1)

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”


Notes on the Scripture

I

n Israel, politics and religion were so entwined that there was hardly any difference. The Pharisees were one of the most powerful religious and political parties in Israel; they were the “progressive party” of the day and were the springboard from which Jesus took his teachings. It was against them, primarily, that Jesus rebelled.

It would have been normal practice for the Pharisees to send out a party to examine a religious outburst such as the one caused by John the Baptists, who was attracting a sizable following. They wanted to know what it was up to; it is entirely possible that, if they considered him sufficiently heretical, they would have had him arrested.

John answers them truthfully; he is not the Messiah or even a prophet (as the term was used in Judaism of the day), but only “a voice crying out in the wilderness” to make straight the way of the Lord. This is a quote from Isaiah 40, one of the most famous chapters of the Bible and certainly something that would be immediately recognized by Jews of the day.

But when John says he is a “voice,” in the context of John 1, there is an implication not present in Isaiah. The Gospel of John has just told us that Christ is the “Word,” and that the Word would dwell among men. John’s statement presents a powerful message that the Pharisees would not appreciate (and would not get him in trouble with them), but we who read the Gospel understand. When John the Baptist claims to be a voice, he is really saying that he is announcing not just words, but the Word: God Himself.

This literary device is called “dramatic irony,” where the audience knows something that those on stage do not, and so the audience realizes that dialogue means something unknown to persons on stage. The Pharisees know that a voice speaks words, but they do not know that “word” has a special meaning to John, as we do. We understand that John is announcing the arrival of the Messiah, but the Pharisees remain in the dark.



Crucifix by Giovanni Cimabue, ca. 1290.
Crucifix by Giovanni Cimabue, ca. 1290.

Daily Inspiration

“Shake Off the Dust”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 10:14 (ESV): And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.



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