DAILY DEVOTIONAL, 1/28/19

Monday, 3rd Week of Ordinary Time

Opening Prayer

Oh Lord, open my lips
And my mouth shall proclaim your praise. (Ps. 51:15)

(from The Book of Common Worship)
Almighty God,
by grace alone you call us
and accept us in your service.
Strengthen us by your Spirit,
and make us worthy of your call;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Morning Psalm, Psalm 57

Let Your Glory Be over All the Earth
To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.

57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

My soul is in the midst of lions;
    I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

They set a net for my steps;
    my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
    but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
    Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

Prayer:
(from The Book of Common Worship)
Merciful God,
refuge in times of trouble,
our only hope in living,
and our only salvation in dying,
keep us in your care
that we may always praise you
and faithfully proclaim your name before the nations;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Laudate Psalm, Psalm 145

Great Is the LORD
A Song of Praise. Of David.

145:1 I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Prayer:
(from The Book of Common Worship)
Merciful Lord,
you are faithful in all your promises,
and just in all your ways.
Govern us, for we are weak;
strengthen us, for we are failing;
refresh us, for we are famished;
abundantly bestow your gifts upon us.
Defend us from evil,
that we be not tempted from your way,
but may praise your name forever.
Amen.

Old Testament Reading, Isaiah 48:1-11

Israel Refined for God’s Glory

48:1 Hear this, O house of Jacob,
    who are called by the name of Israel,
    and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the Lord
    and confess the God of Israel,
    but not in truth or right.
For they call themselves after the holy city,
    and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
    the Lord of hosts is his name.

“The former things I declared of old;
    they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
    then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
Because I know that you are obstinate,
    and your neck is an iron sinew
    and your forehead brass,
I declared them to you from of old,
    before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
    my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’

“You have heard; now see all this;
    and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
    hidden things that you have not known.
They are created now, not long ago;
    before today you have never heard of them,
    lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
You have never heard, you have never known,
    from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
    and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
    for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
    that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
    I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
    for how should my name be profaned?
    My glory I will not give to another.

Epistle Reading, Galatians 1:1-17

Greeting

1:1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul Called by God

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Gospel Reading, Mark 5:21-43

Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus’s Daughter

5:21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Reflection For the day

Christian Marriage”
from the Directory of Worship 
for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America
(2015 printing)

Christian marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman in which they pledge their love to each other, commit themselves to one another, promise mutual fidelity and covenant to live together as husband and wife. Christians believe that God has ordained such a relationship for the welfare and happiness of humankind. While it is not necessary to be married to be an obedient Christian, and indeed not everyone should marry, it is in order for Christians to marry and to advocate marriage. Jesus Christ blessed the relationship of marriage, it has been honored in the church throughout the church’s history, and it is to be held in high esteem among all people.

Marriage is a relationship recognized and defined by both the state and the church. The state views it as a civil contract among a woman and a man and the state with certain legal requirements placed upon all who enter into the civil contract. Moreover, the state requires that numerous requirements be met with respect to age, health and soundness of mind.

The church views marriage as more than a legal contract. Marriage is understood to be a relationship which is patterned after God’s relationship to human beings in Jesus Christ. It involves self giving, unselfish love one for the other and a profound sense of living their life together under the guidance and providential care of God.

Ministers are expected to counsel with a woman and a man who come to them to be married. That counseling will include instruction of the couple with respect to the biblical meaning of marriage, exploration of the commitment which the man and the woman have to each other, the requirements of the state, the design of the marriage service and the religious commitments of those who present themselves to be married.

Each minister will decide, based upon counseling with the couple, whether she or he can participate with the couple in the marriage ceremony. In making such a determination, the minister should consider matters such as the following: the concepts of marriage held by the couple, their commitment to Jesus Christ and the Christian church, their emotional, personal and financial suitability for marriage and their commitment to a marriage relationship. It is prudent for ministers at times to seek counsel from other ministers or laypersons in reaching a decision concerning his or her willingness to officiate at the marriage service of particular couples.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church/Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America views a Christian service of marriage as a corporate worship experience. Consequently everything in principle which applies to corporate worship applies to a marriage service. The focus should be kept upon God and God’s Word. All present are expected to participate. Indeed, it is highly appropriate for a man and a woman to be married as a part of a regular worship service. The man and the woman, as well as all members of the wedding party, engage in the scheduled corporate worship of the congregation, and come forward for the wedding service after the sermon and before the dismissal and/ or benediction. It is also acceptable to have a service of marriage after the dismissal and/or benediction, with all members of the congregation invited to stay.

The essential elements of a marriage service are the following: (1) A brief statement of the meaning of Christian marriage by giving particular emphases to biblical material and themes. (2) Prayers for the couple as they enter into their new relationship. (3) An exchange of vows, appropriate to the Christian understanding of marriage between the woman and the man, and an exchange of rings if desired. (4) Scripture reading. (5) A charge delivered to the couple. (6) A public declaration that the man and woman are joined in marriage according to the ordinance of God and the law of the state. (7) The pronouncement of a blessing upon the couple.

The minister should provide counseling for the couple with respect to music. Any music which is a part of the Christian marriage ceremony should focus attention upon God, who sanctifies marriage. Hymns for congregation singing are recommended. If the minister lacks skill and knowledge in this area, it is highly recommended that counsel be sought from a competent, qualified musician.

Flowers, decorations and other appointments can add to the marriage service; however, care should be taken to avoid ostentation, excessive expense and that which is unduly elaborate.

At times a woman and man previously married in a civil ceremony may desire that their relationship be blessed by God through God’s church. In such a situation, the minister will counsel with the couple, and if they demonstrate a Christian understanding of marriage and are genuinely seeking God’s blessing on their marriage, then an appropriate service similar to a regular marriage ceremony may be performed as a part of a regularly scheduled service of corporate worship, or as a separate ceremony.

Prayer for the Day

Take time to reflect and pray. Pray for those listed on our prayer list from worship. If you’d like to use it, here is a prayer to guide you:

(from The Book of Common Worship)
We rejoice in your generous goodness, O God, and celebrate your lavish gifts to us this day, for you have shown your love in giving Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world. Especially we give thanks for

the labors of those who have served us today . . .
friends with whom we have shared . . .
those whom we love and have loved us . . .
opportunities for our work to help others . . .
all beauty that delights us. . . .

Gracious God, we know you are close to all in need, and by our prayers for others we come closer to you. We are bold to claim for others your promises of new life in Jesus Christ, as we claim them for ourselves. Especially we pray for

those in dangerous occupations . . .
physicians and nurses . . .
those who are ill or confined to nursing homes . . .
those who mourn . . .
the Roman Catholic Church. . . .

Amen.

Closing Prayer

(from The Liturgy of the Hours)
Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Let us praise the Lord.
– And give him thanks. 
Amen.

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