Abraham and the Three Angels, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (Dutch), c. 1656. See Today in Daily Prayer at the bottom of the page, for a discussion of this work.
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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.
Make Me Your Servant
O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before Thy throne of grace.
O Lord—this morning—
Bow our hearts beneath our knees,
And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning—
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
And now, O Lord, this child of God,
Who breaks the bread of life this morning—
Shadow me in the hollow of Thy hand,
And keep me out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take me, Lord—this morning—
Wash me with hyssop inside and out,
Hang me up and drain me dry of sin.
Pin my ear to the wisdom-post,
And make my words sledge hammers of truth—
Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning—
Put my eye to the telescope of eternity,
And let me look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine my imagination,
Put perpetual motion in my arms,
Fill me full of the dynamite of Thy power,
Anoint me all over with the oil of Thy salvation,
And set my tongue on fire.
~ adapted from “Listen, Lord”, by James Weldon Johnson
Mason Barge //2017
To Live in the Knowledge of Christ
Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you. I can tell you everything that troubles me. I know you care about all the concerns in my life.
Teach me to live in the knowledge that you who care for me today, will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
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.
Bebe Winans tells us how he learned to trust Jesus, in a soft ballad.
Lyrics to Through It All
Through It All
I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow,
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave blessed consolation,
That my trials only come to make me strong.
Through it all,
Through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus;
I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all,
Through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.
I've been a lot of places,
And I've seen so many faces,
But there've been times I've felt so all alone;
But in that lonely hour,
In that precious, lonely hour,
Jesus let me know I was His own.
So I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He's brought me through.
Cause if I never had a problem,
I wouldn't know that He could solve them,
I wouldn't know what faith in His Word could do.
Music and Lyrics by Gary Victor Brown and Steve Harvey.
Count Your Blessings
Count your blessings, not your crosses; Count your gains instead of losses.
Count your joys instead of woes; Count your friends instead of foes.
Count your smiles instead of tears; Count your courage, not your fears.
Count full years instead lean; Count kind deeds instead of mean.
Count your health instead of wealth; Love your neighbor as yourself.
Genesis 18:9-15 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
hey said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.”
The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”
The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Notes on the Scripture
This charming vignette began with three mysterious men showing up one day at Abraham’s tent. He recognizes that one of them is the Lord, and has a feast prepared for them. As they sit on Abraham’s porch — which would have been a great wool cloth supported by poles, covering the area in front of the tent — Sarah remains inside, her ear to the door eavesdropping.
God has previously promised Abraham a son by Sarah, and now that the covenant has been sealed by the circumcision of Abraham’s household, He states that the promise will be fulfilled immediately.
Sarah laughs, possibly in disbelief, but more likely at the sheer preposterousness of what is happening. She has passed the period of menopause; the phrase “my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” would seem to mean that they no longer share the marriage bed.
But the Lord calls her out for laughing, and Sarah actually engages in a moment of banter — with God Himself! “Why is Sarah laughing?” She comes out of the tent and says, in essence, “Was not!” to which God replies “Were, too!”
Of course, Sarah is full of fear and awe to be in God’s presence. But God here creates a friendly, personal relationship with Abraham and Sarah. Rather than appearing as a fearful voice or a shining angel, he comes as an ordinary man.
God’s encounter with Abraham and Sarah, anticipating the life of Christ, tells us that part of our relationship with God is to be personal and friendly. Once we fully establish our faith, our commitment, the very sacrifice of our flesh, we may sometimes treat with God as a friend. He is not an Eastern potentate, upon whose face we may never look. Although we worship Him in all humility, sometimes with great show of reverence, our relationship with Him is multifaceted and can sometimes be familiar and conversational.
Strength of God, by Lawrence Klimecki, contemporary.
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Today in Daily Prayer
About the Painting, “Abraham and the Three Angels”
This painting from the Dutch “Golden Age” is in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
Eeckhout shows three angels with wings, rather than God and two angels appearing as men. The wings are not representational of the story, but do identify the figures as angels. Some early scholars interpreted the three men to be three angels, but the text better supports the interpretation that the three men were two angels and God Himself.
The first angel, who is wearing white and highlighted, might be a representation of Christ. The peacock is a symbol of immortality and renewal, to reflect God’s promise to Abraham.
Eeckhout was a student of Rembrandt, and the tone, composition, and use of shadow reflect this. He brilliantly captures the casual and friendly tone of the Scripture by the posture of the subjects. In the background, everyday life goes as normal, even though God is sitting in the village. Note Sarah hiding behind the doorjamb. Eeckhout made some attempt to make Abraham look at least somewhat Semitic, although the three angels are European. He places him in a masonry house with fine robes, neither of which is impossible, but the scene does look more like 17th century Holland than ancient Canaan.
Matthew 5:34: I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool . . . . Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
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