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May the Spirit of God flow through your life
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Daily Devotion for March 3, 2024


God have mercy on me, a sinner | Luke 18

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.

Today’s “Virtual Sunday Church” features the Irish Philharmonic Chorus, singing a gorgeous old German hymn: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. Sing along!




For the Spirit of Prayer

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,

Amen.

Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.

Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.]

But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.

Amen.

Covenant Prayer

I  am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

Doxology

Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

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 89:1-2 (NKJV)

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness
to all generations.

For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish
in the very heavens.”


Blue Latin Cross

Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)

Forgiveness
P

ut on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.

And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Notes on the Scripture

True forgiveness is one of the hardest things in life to do and one of the most important. It is the antidote for the sins of anger and pride. Forgiveness destroys a great barrier that separates us from Christ’s grace. Like a muscle, it must be exercised repeatedly, for we will never tire of getting angry and prideful.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an expression of one of the two great commandments of Christ: “Love the Lord with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: Love thy neighbor as thyself.” We remind ourselves of its importance every day, when we pray “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The Lord’s prayer was written by Christ Himself, and the prayer to forgive as we are forgiven is a constant reminder of its importance.

This is one act that divides the Christian from the secular world. Society and the media seem obsessed with revenge and justice. By and large, secular society does not ascribe to Christ’s commandment. Many Christian doctrines have been secularized by society, but forgiveness is rarely one of them. Every time someone sins against you, hurts you in your earthly life, or offends your pride, you are given an opportunity to show the power of Christ.

We believe that justice belongs to God, not to ourselves. Certainly, the secular law may punish criminals, and most Christians have no problem in seeing that the law is carried out. But we must always be on guard against the trap of the “hanging judge,” a person who has internalized high standards of conduct for himself and therefore becomes even angrier and more vindictive when he sees evil in another. This is a parody of Christianity, held by many non-Christians to be typical and, in truth, occurring often enough in life to worry us.

When evil is done, our starting point must be Christ’s commandment to forgive. It is sometimes unbelievably difficult, because people sometimes do terrible things. Drunken drivers run over and kill children. Rebellious teenagers vandalize property. There is nothing evil that can be done, that man will not do. But we must remember that the people who commit these terrible acts are God’s children and their souls are not necessarily lost. Our initial reaction must be to remember this and to forgive them in our hearts.



<i>Transfiguration</i> by Fra Angelico, ca. 1440.
Transfiguration by Fra Angelico, ca. 1440. Fra Angelico's genius for sheer piety gives us a spiritually accessible depiction of the Transfiguration that has never been equalled. (See Full-size)

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