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Daily Devotional Prayer

Daily Devotion for September 18, 2021



Three Marys at the Tomb, by Jan and/or Hubert van Eyck, ca. 1430.

This wonderful early painting shows the account of Mark 16:1, the only Gospel that clearly identifies "Three Marys" discovering Jesus’ empty tomb: Mary Magdelene; Mary the mother of James; and Jesus’ disciple Salome, called "Mary Salome." The soldiers, who have been rendered unconscious with fear by seeing the angel, appear only in Matthew 28.
Jerusalem looks very Northern European, as does the central soldier; the others may have been modeled on Saracens from the crusades.

Prayers

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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.

Prayer to Conform to God’s Will

O  Lord God, I am so lukewarm towards you so much of the time, in so much of my life. I try not to admit it to myself, but I read your Word and I can see the gap between what you want for me and what I do. I make excuses. You tell us to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, imitating Him in all we do, but the lure of property, politics, entertainment — all of the matters of this world — is powerful. I concern myself with them constantly, ignoring the plain and simple message of the Bible. I live too much in the secular world, anxious for status and concerned about my future.

Have patience with me, mighty God, and forgive me. Do not spew me out, as you have warned you might do with the lukewarm. Fill my soul with the fire of your Word and help me grow, to put more and more confidence in you and less and less in the world before me; forgive me my sins and help me to live in them less and less today, and every day, that I might more perfectly follow your commandments. In Christ’s name I pray,

Amen.

Prayer to Find God in Nature

singing bird left

Morning and evening, Lord, I beseech Thee,
suffer my cry from this wood to reach Thee;
these are Thy presents, Thy heart I find
in the dark forest in sleet and wind.

As on the sea Thou sailest before,
a cloud, that our ship might see this shore,
so now Thou walkest, these trees Thy feet,
and in this brook Thy heart doth beat.

Lord, I am fearless, Thy mercy shown,
for where Thou art there is nought unknown;
what are these seemings save Thine own?

O grant Thy servant his grace of days,
whose hours shall all be filled with praise:
here Thy new works must numb’red be
and fair names fitted to beast and tree.

All to be learned, all to be loved,
thus ever fresh Thy kingdom proved.

Amen.

(based on The Kid by Conrad Aiken, 1947)

Dedication to Service

Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus’ name, I pray,

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

Where do we find this rather surprising statement: “Blessed is the man You discipline, O Lord, The man You teach from Your word”?

Answer: Psalm 94:12


Our “Saturday Oldies” cover a wide span, and today we go back 170 years to the days of the Anabaptists!

This beautiful a capella hymn is sung by the Charity Homeschool Chorus (a spinoff of the Amish) with wonderful simplicity and innocence.



Scripture

Psalm 2:1-4 (The Voice)

What has provoked the nations to embrace anger and chaos?
Why are the people making plans to pursue their own vacant and empty greatness?

Leaders of nations stand united;
rulers put their heads together,
plotting against the Eternal One and His Anointed King,
trying to figure out
How they can throw off the gentle reign of God’s love,
step out from under the restrictions of His claims to advance their own schemes.

The Power of heaven laughs at their silliness.
The Eternal mocks their ignorant selfishness.


Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 51:16-19 (NKJV)

Hebrew Poetic Style
A

wake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which has drunk the cup of Jehovah's wrath at his hand. You have drunk the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it.

There is nobody to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither are there any that take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has raised.

These two things are befallen thee, and who shall moan for you? Desolation and destruction, famine and the sword; how can I comfort you?

Your sons have fainted and lie in the streets, like antelopes in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of your God.

Notes on the Scripture

Isaiah uses a poetic form similar to that used in the Psalms. It consists of a statement followed by a response. Hebrew poets used this one-two rhetorical device in a number of ways. For example:

1) The response is often a restatement, usually with some variation: “There is nobody to guide her . . . neither are there any to take her by the hand.”

2) The response may answer a question posed in the verse: “Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?” “Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, . . .” (Psalm 15:1-2)

Icon of the Prophet Isaiah.
The Prophet Isaiah

3) The response may explain the verse: “Your sons have fainted . . . they are full of the wrath of Jehovah.”

4) The response may give a second idea that is related to the first. This is common in Proverbs, where there may be a string of responses, e.g. “Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.”

5) The response may give a consequence of the verse, e.g. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

6) The response may give an opposite example, e.g. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Often forms are nested, with statement/response verses forming a larger statement/response form between verses. Look at verses 1-2 of Psalm 1:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

The first verse is a statement, followed by a pair of variation responses (“nor stands . . . nor sits . . .”). The second verse consists of a statement (“but his delight . . .”), then a response that repeats and elaborates the first statement (“and upon his law . . .”). Also, however, the first verse is a statement and the second verse is a response, a positive comparison to the negatively stated first verse. Verse one tells us something a blessed man does not do; the second verse answers with the contrary, showing us how the blessed man does act.

This technique of parallelism is the heart of Hebrew poetry, and skill in its use is the mark of the poet's art, much like rhyming the final word of a verse and following a specific rhythm (the form most familiar to us) became the sign of skill in English poetry of the 17th-19th centuries. To understand the ancient poetic form gives us an extra dimension of beauty and meaning when we read the Old Testament; instead of finding them odd or even ungainly, we can find the beauty hidden in them.

With this in mind, we can see the gracefulness in today’s verses, even though we read them in translation: “There is nobody to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither are there any that take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has raised.” Isaiah is not trying to bore us by saying the same thing twice. This is a formal song style, and the listener looked forward to the restatement of the theme.



Daily Inspiration

“Victory in New Life”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB): No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.



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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Sep 17, 2021 were:

Sylvia Banda (12)
Linda Surber (12)
Pam Carpenter (11)
Keith Langley (11)
Cindy Moniz (11)
Joseph Johnson (11)
randall martin (11)

Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Stanley Clowes (9 out of 9)
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Keith Langley (9 out of 9)
Sylvia Banda (9 out of 9)
Gary Swart (9 out of 9)
randall martin (9 out of 9)