Mar 19, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

…for each tree is known by its own fruit.

March 19, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Preparation For Confession: Self-Examination
  2. MIDDAY: Isaiah 5:1-7, The song of the vineyard
    • Lesson: Called to bear good fruit for the Lord
  3. EVENING: Luke 6:43-45, A tree and its fruits
    • Lesson: The true marks of our character

Invocation

Praise be to thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.

Before thee only have I sinned, * O Lord, have mercy on me.

Have mercy on me, O God, * according to thy great mercy.

O God + come to my assistance; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Opening Prayer

O God, who hast prepared for them that love Thee such good things as cannot be seen, pour into our hearts the inclination to love Thee, that we loving Thee in all things and above all things may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God world without end. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Forty days and forty nights”

By  George Hunt Smyttan, 1822-1870

Text:

1. Forty days and forty nights

thou wast fasting in the wild;

forty days and forty nights

tempted, and yet undefiled.

2. Should not we thy sorrow share

and from worldly joys abstain,

fasting with unceasing prayer,

strong with thee to suffer pain?

3. Then if Satan on us press,

Jesus, Savior, hear our call!

Victor in the wilderness,

grant we may not faint or fall!

4. So shall we have peace divine:

holier gladness ours shall be;

round us, too, shall angels shine,

such as ministered to thee.

5. Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,

ever constant by thy side;

that we thee we may appear

at the eternal Eastertide. [2]


Morning Prayer

We have sinned, O Lord, we have sinned. 

Forgive our sins and save us. 

Hear us, O Lord, 

as you guided Noah on the waves of the flood 

and recalled Jonah from the abyss by your Word. 

Free us, O Lord, 

as you offered a hand to Peter as he was sinking. 

Bear us up, O Christ, Son of God, 

as you performed wonders among our fathers. 

O Lord, stretch forth your hand from on high 

to help us in our needs.

Amen.

Lorrha-Stowe Missal, late 8th century [3]

Short Verse

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;* my God, I put my trust in you. 

Psalm 25:1

Morning Reading

Preparation For Confession: Self-Examination 

(from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [4])

Whether one is motivated by some particular and obvious concern or as a normal part of your spiritual discipline, a thoughtful and careful preparation is essential. Begin with these points of reflection on God’s mercy and on the call that is ours as Christians. 

Two men went up to the temple to pray…one was praying thus… “I thank you that I am not like other people…” [the other said,] “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

— Luke 18 

They asked Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?”[He said,] “I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners.”

— Matthew 9 

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

— 1 John 1


Midday Prayer

The Plea for Penitence 

LORD, TEACH ME TO KNOW and repent my sins, grant that with a clear and searching eye I may judge myself in the light of your goodness; and, knowing my own sins and trusting your great mercy, may I never condemn or despise any other. Amen. [5]

Short Verse

Rescue the weak and the poor;* deliver them from the power of the wicked. 

Psalm 82:4

Midday Reading

Isaiah 5:1-7, The song of the vineyard

5 Let me sing for my beloved

    my love-song concerning his vineyard:

My beloved had a vineyard

    on a very fertile hill.

He dug it and cleared it of stones,

    and planted it with choice vines;

he built a watchtower in the midst of it,

    and hewed out a wine vat in it;

he expected it to yield grapes,

    but it yielded wild grapes.

And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem

    and people of Judah,

judge between me

    and my vineyard.

What more was there to do for my vineyard

    that I have not done in it?

When I expected it to yield grapes,

    why did it yield wild grapes?

And now I will tell you

    what I will do to my vineyard.

I will remove its hedge,

    and it shall be devoured;

I will break down its wall,

    and it shall be trampled down.

I will make it a waste;

    it shall not be pruned or hoed,

    and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;

I will also command the clouds

    that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts

    is the house of Israel,

and the people of Judah

    are his pleasant planting;

he expected justice,

    but saw bloodshed;

righteousness,

    but heard a cry!

Midday Lesson

Called to bear good fruit for the Lord

“The lesson of the song of the vineyard shows that God’s chosen nation was to bear fruit—to carry out his work, to uphold justice. It did bear fruit, but the fruit was bad. Jesus said, ‘Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions’ (Matt 7:20). Have you examined your own ‘fruit’ lately? Is it good or bad—useful or wild?” [6]


Eventide Prayer

GRACIOUS GOD, you created me of the dust of the earth and breathed life into me. Lord Jesus Christ, you sought out those who had no claim to holiness and who knew their need of your mercy; dying, you prayed for forgiveness, and, rising to new life, you spoke peace to your fearful disciples. Holy Spirit, your gifts are wisdom and counsel, you enlighten the mind and lead us to know what is right, good, and in accordance with God’s will. Amen. [7]

Short Verse

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” 

Isaiah 58:6

Illustration to Matthew 7:17–18: Good tree bears good fruit; corrupt tree bears evil fruit. Jan Luyken (1712).

Eventide Reading

Luke 6:43-45, A tree and its fruits

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Eventide Lesson

The true marks of our character

“An example from nature underscores how and why hypocrisy is invariably exposed. Ultimately, bad trees yield bad fruit, while good trees produce useful fruit… Over time, what lies hidden within the heart becomes visible in our words, actions, and reactions.” [8] 

“A person’s words and deeds— not appearances— are the true marks of one’s character. In repentance and through the Gospel, the Lord grants you a pure heart, set free from sin by God’s grace. • Create in me a clean heart, O God, that I might bear the fruit of faith. Amen.” [9]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

*  The peace of the Father of joy, 

the peace of the Christ of hope, 

the peace of the Spirit of grace, 

the peace of all peace be mine this night 

+  in the name of the Father, 

and of the Son, 

and of the Holy Spirit. 

Amen. [10]


Citations:

[1] WOOD, F. M. (2016). LITURGY OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE (Kindle ed.). Kellbridge Press.

[2] The hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal CHURCH 150. forty days and forty nights. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/150

[3] Stratman, P. (2001). Confession. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 23). Rossway.

[4] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 91). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[5] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 104). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Isaiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6437). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[7] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 92-93). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[8] A., E. E. (2016). Luke. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 6987). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer: Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92355). London: HarperCollins.

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