Give Thanks In Every Situation

Give Thanks In Every Situation

Rev. Dr. William Barber: ‘Nothing Would Be More Tragic Than For Us To Tu...

Lectionary Devotions


Today
Catholic Daily Readings
First Reading Wis 2:1a12–22
Response Ps 34:19a
Psalm Ps 34:17–2123
Gospel Acclamation Mt 4:4b
Gospel Jn 7:1–21025–30

Today
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings
Psalm Ps 51:1–12
First Reading Ex 30:1–10
Second Reading Heb 4:14–5:4

Today
Book of Common Prayer (1979) Daily Office Lectionary
Invitatory Ps 95
Psalms (Morning) Ps 102
Psalms (Evening) Ps 107:1–32
Old Testament Ex 2:1–22
New Testament 1 Co 12:27–13:3
Gospel Mk 9:2–13

Today
Book of Common Prayer (1928) Daily Office Lectionary
Psalm Ps 95102
First Reading Ex 1:8–1422
Second Reading 1 Co 14:26


Connect the Testaments

March 16: It Will Seem Simple in Retrospect
Numbers 17:1–18:32; 1 Corinthians 1:1–31; Psalm 18:1–12
We’re all faced with difficult tasks. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was forced to confront their spiritual problems, which were slowly destroying God’s work among them. Paul was thankful for them (1 Cor 1:4–8), but he was also called to a high purpose as an apostle. His calling meant saying what people didn’t want to hear (1 Cor 1:1).
There were divisions among the Corinthians that were going to rip their fledgling church apart, and Paul implored them to make some difficult changes: “Now I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that … there not be divisions among you, and that you be made complete in the same mind and with the same purpose. For … there are quarrels among you” (1 Cor 1:10–11). And here’s where something amazing happens that we often overlook. Paul, a confident man and a former Law-abiding Pharisee, could have stated why he was right and moved on, but he does something else:
“Each of you is saying, ‘I am with Paul,’ and ‘I am with Apollos,’ and ‘I am with Cephas,’ and ‘I am with Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give thanks that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that you were baptized in my name” (1 Cor 1:12–15). Paul sticks it to them, and he reminds them that Christ deserves all the credit.
We all have moments like this, where we have the opportunity to take credit for someone else’s work—or even worse, for Jesus’ work. Paul had the strength and character that we should all desire.
How are you currently taking credit for others’ people work or for Jesus’?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Morning and Evening

Morning, March 16 Go To Evening Reading

“I am a stranger with thee.”
Psalm 39:12

Yes, O Lord, with thee, but not to thee. All my natural alienation from thee, thy grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with thyself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. Thou art a stranger in thine own world. Man forgets thee, dishonours thee, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows thee not. When thy dear Son came unto his own, his own received him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Never was foreigner so speckled a bird among the denizens of any land as thy beloved Son among his mother’s brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords which once bound my soul to earth, and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these Babylonians among whom I dwell an outlandish tongue, my manners are singular, and my actions are strange. A Tartar would be more at home in Cheapside than I could ever be in the haunts of sinners. But here is the sweetness of my lot: I am a stranger with thee. Thou art my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed society! My heart burns within me by the way when thou dost speak to me, and though I be a sojourner, I am far more blest than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who dwell in their ceiled houses.

“To me remains nor place, nor time:
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none:
But with a God to guide our way,
’Tis equal joy to go or stay.”

Go To Morning Reading Evening, March 16

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.”
Psalm 19:13

Such was the prayer of the “man after God’s own heart.” Did holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, “Keep me back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin.” Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May the grace of God put the bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it rush not into mischief. What might not the best of us do if it were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in providence and in grace! The psalmist’s prayer is directed against the worst form of sin—that which is done with deliberation and wilfulness. Even the holiest need to be “kept back” from the vilest transgressions. It is a solemn thing to find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome sins. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do. The whitest robes, unless their purity be preserved by divine grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots. Experienced Christian, boast not in your experience; you will trip yet if you look away from him who is able to keep you from falling. Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, “We shall never sin,” but rather cry, “Lead us not into temptation.” There is enough tinder in the heart of the best of men to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing uncleanness? Hazael said, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?” and we are very apt to use the same self-righteous question. May infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence.


 Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896. Print.

My Utmost for His Highest

March 16th
The master assizes
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Cor. 5:10
Paul says that we must all, preacher and people alike, “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” If you learn to live in the white light of Christ here and now, judgment finally will cause you to delight in the work of God in you. Keep yourself steadily faced by the judgment seat of Christ; walk now in the light of the holiest you know. A wrong temper of mind about another soul will end in the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment, and the end of it is hell in you. Drag it to the light at once and say—‘My God, I have been guilty there.’ If you don’t, hardness will come all through. The penalty of sin is confirmation in sin. It is not only God who punishes for sin; sin confirms itself in the sinner and gives back full pay. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing some things, and the penalty of sin is that gradually you get used to it and do not know that it is sin. No power save the incoming of the Holy Ghost can alter the inherent consequences of sin.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light.” Walking in the light means for many of us walking according to our standard for another person. The deadliest Pharisaism to-day is not hypocrisy, but unconscious unreality.


 Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

March 16
Come behind in no gift
1 Cor. 1:7
The Scripture gives four names to Christians, taken from the four cardinal graces so essential to man’s salvation: Saints for their holiness, believers for their faith, brethren for their love, disciples for their knowledge.
Thomas Fuller


 Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Made in the Likeness of God

Made in the Likeness of God

Excerpt
The fault of invoking curses on fellow human beings is deplorable because they are made in the likeness of God. This is obviously a reference to Gen 1.26-27. In the Genesis passage two words are used; one is “image” and the other is “likeness.” It is not clear why James chose the second word rather than the first one. In any case there seems to be no need to press for a different sense between the two, as they are obviously meant to have the same meaning. What James wants to communicate here is simply that acting against people who resemble God is the same as acting against God, who created those people. It is logically inconsistent to pretend to bless God and then to curse the representation of God (human beings). In other words, cursing other human beings is in effect cursing God, who created them. More
Loh, I-Jin, and Howard Hatton. A Handbook on the Letter from James. New York: United Bible Societies, 1997. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Overview of Psalm 139

Overview of Psalm 139

Excerpt
David meditates on the omniscience (139:1–6), omnipresence (vv. 7–12), and omnipotence (vv. 13–18) of God. He then applies these truths to the wicked, whom he calls on God to slay (vv. 19–22), and to himself, whom he calls on God to examine and to lead (vv. 23–24). More
Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

But I Have This Against You

But I Have This Against You

Excerpt
The rebuke given to this church: Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, v4. Those that have much good in them may have something much amiss in them, and our Lord Jesus, as an impartial Master and Judge, takes notice of both; though he first observes what is good, and is most ready to mention this, yet he also observes what is amiss, and will faithfully reprove them for it. The sin that Christ charged this church with was their decay and declension in holy love and zeal: Thou hast left thy first love; not left and forsaken the object of it, but lost the fervent degree of it that at first appeared. Observe, (1.) The first affections of men towards Christ, and holiness, and heaven, are usually lively and warm. God remembered the love of Israel’s espousals, when she would follow him withersoever he went. (2.) These lively affections will abate and cool if great care be not taken, and diligence used, to preserve them in constant exercise. (3.) Christ is grieved and displeased with his people when he sees them grow remiss and cold towards him, and he will one way or other make them sensible that he does not take it well from them. More
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.

Family Opposition (Mark 3:31–5)

Family Opposition (Mark 3:31–5)

Excerpt
‎The friends and relatives who appeared in v21 now arrive in order to restrain Jesus who, as far as they are concerned, is out of his mind. It is almost as if they want him arrested, so strong is the Greek word used in v21. Perhaps they account his madness as due to demon possession. If so they would be in agreement with the scribes.
‎It shocks us to discover that Mary is in such company! We have been brought up on a diet of Luke’s Gospel where Mary is afforded more respect. As far as Mark is concerned, she and the family of Jesus have completely misunderstood him and are definitely outside the circle of disciples (v. 31). Those who sit at Jesus’ feet are those willing to learn—the family exclude themselves by remaining outside. Jesus therefore looks to his disciples as his new family (v35). … More
McFadyen, Phillip. Open Door on Mark: His Gospel Explored. London: Triangle, 1997. Print.