Daily Devotion for March 20, 2011
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
A loving doe, a graceful deer� may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man�s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
John 11:38-44 (KJV)
Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead
Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Notes on the Scripture
The Scripture is very straightforward. It is a factual account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Although Lazarus has been dead four days, and his body has already begun to decompose, Jesus raises him in order to show the full glory of God.
This is the greatest and one of the best-known of the miracles by which Jesus showed himself to be the Christ. John specifically depicts seven such miracles, which were so great that they qualified as "signs", that it, acts by which Jesus showed himself to be the Christ.
Jesus' time is growing near. Where he has previously sought to avoid the authorities — on several occasions, he has snuck into or out of Jerusalem to avoid arrest — here he almost asks to be found by them. He stands in public before Lazarus' tomb, just outside the walls of Jerusalem, and in a loud voice cries for a dead man to come forth. This is bound to make a stir. Remember, in contrast, when he changed water into wine at the wedding in Cana, how he asked that his act be kept secret, and how far from civilization he was when he fed the multitude.
The presage of Christ's own death and resurrection is hard to miss. Lazarus' body is even behind a stone, which is rolled away. The events of his early life are coming to a climax, and he is about to enter the final act of his life on earth.
(I have a confession to make; I chose the old King James version of this text, in part, because I wanted to use the word "stinketh".)