Mar 31, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

March 31, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Isaiah 43:8-15, God is Lord, Holy One, Creator, Ruler
    • Lesson: Do not be like the blind witnesses
  2. A Self-reflection on Lust
  3. Philippians 2:25—3:1, Paul praises a co-worker
    • Lesson: Who should we honor?

Invitatory

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

    creator of heaven and earth;

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

    He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

        and born of the Virgin Mary.

    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

        was crucified, died, and was buried.

    He descended to the dead.

    On the third day he rose again.

    He ascended into heaven,

        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

    the holy catholic Church,

    the communion of saints,

    the forgiveness of sins

    the resurrection of the body,

    and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Hymn

“Out of My Bondage, Sorrow, and Night”

By William Sleeper

Lyrics:

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night, 

      Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; 

Into Your freedom, gladness, and light, 

      Jesus, I come to You; 

Out of my sickness into Your health, 

Out of my want and into Your wealth, 

Out of my sin and into Yourself, 

      Jesus, I come to You. 

Out of my shameful failure and loss, 

      Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; 

Into the glorious gain of Your cross, 

      Jesus, I come to You; 

Out of earth’s sorrows into Your balm, 

Out of life’s storm and into Your calm, 

Out of distress to jubilant psalm, 

      Jesus, I come to You; 

Out of unrest and arrogant pride, 

      Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; 

Into Your blessed will to abide, 

      Jesus, I come to You; 

Out of myself to dwell in Your love, 

Out of despair into raptures above, 

Upward for ever on wings like a dove, 

      Jesus, I come to You; 

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb, 

      Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; 

Into the joy and light of Your home, 

      Jesus, I come to You; 

Out of the depths of ruin untold, 

Into the peace of Your sheltering fold, 

Ever Your glorious face to behold, 

      Jesus, I come to You. [1]


Morning Prayer

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

Short Verse

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:6

Morning Reading

Isaiah 43:8-15, God is Lord, Holy One, Creator, Ruler

Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes,

    who are deaf, yet have ears!

Let all the nations gather together,

    and let the peoples assemble.

Who among them declared this,

    and foretold to us the former things?

Let them bring their witnesses to justify them,

    and let them hear and say, “It is true.”

10 

You are my witnesses, says the Lord,

    and my servant whom I have chosen,

so that you may know and believe me

    and understand that I am he.

Before me no god was formed,

    nor shall there be any after me.

11 

I, I am the Lord,

    and besides me there is no savior.

12 

I declared and saved and proclaimed,

    when there was no strange god among you;

    and you are my witnesses, says the Lord.

13 

I am God, and also henceforth I am He;

    there is no one who can deliver from my hand;

    I work and who can hinder it?

14 

Thus says the Lord,

    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

For your sake I will send to Babylon

    and break down all the bars,

    and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation.[a]

15 

I am the Lord, your Holy One,

    the Creator of Israel, your King.

Morning Lesson

Do not be like the blind witnesses

“As a blind and deaf witness [v. 8], the nation Israel did not fulfill the prophecy of restoration (42:18-20).” [3] “When the worshipers of idols can produce no witness to vindicate their gods, the Lord calls to the stand His witnesses, His servant Israel, to testify that He saved His people…  The Lord calls on the nations to bring out their witnesses and testify what their gods have done… They testify under oath.” [4]

You [v. 10] is strongly contrasted by ‘I’ at the beginning of v. 11… The people of Israel had witnessed the great works of God in their midst (Ex. 4).” [5] “Though the people of Israel became spiritually blind and deaf (42:18-25), they can attest to their experiences. The Lord calls us to testify what we learn of Him. Ironically, this first was adapted by the disciples of Charles Taze Russell and ‘Judge’ Joseph F. Rutherford to form the name ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses,’ a group that has deceived many with false predictions about the end of the world and other false testimony. They teach that Jesus is only a ‘Mighty God’ alongside the Almighty God, though the Lord, speaking through Isaiah, clearly rejects this doctrine… The only true God – the Holy Trinity – is uncreated and eternal.” [6]

“Israel’s task was to be a witness (Isa 44:8), telling the world who God is and what he had done. Believers today share the responsibility of being God’s witnesses. Do people know what God is like through your words and example? They cannot see God directly, but they can see him reflected in you.” [7]


Midday Prayer

Blessed Savior, at this hour you hung upon the cross, stretching out your loving arms: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may look to you and be saved; for your tender mercies’ sake. Amen. [8]

Short Verse

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Luke 22: 44-46

Midday Reading

A Self-reflection on Lust

(Excerpted from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [9])

LUST is the misuse of sex or any action that debases it from the holy purpose for which God has given it to us. 

  • Unchastity: Sexual activity that is degrading, promiscuous, abusive, or compulsive. Unfaithfulness to a spouse, indulging sexual fantasy and imagination as an escape from building a healthy marriage or in a way that prohibits forming a right attitude toward sex. 
  • Immodesty: Any interactions with others meant to inflame sexual fantasy. Disregard of one’s effect on other people or intentional abuse of one’s influence over others. 
  • Prudery: Fear or condemnation of sex as if it were evil in itself. Harsh judgment of others. Refusal to seek or to allow others to explore and understand sexuality. 
  • Cruelty: Any pleasure or satisfaction from seeing others suffering. Deliberate infliction of pain, mental or physical. Mistreatment of animals.

Eventide Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy death didst take away the sting of death: Grant unto us thy servants so to follow in faith where thou hast led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in thee, and awake up after thy likeness; for thy tender mercies’ sake. Amen. [10]

Short Verse

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:2

By Paige T. Rogers

Eventide Reading

Philippians 2:25—3:1, Paul praises a co-worker

25 Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger[a] and minister to my need; 26 for he has been longing for[b] all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honor such people, 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ,[c] risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me.

3 Finally, my brothers and sisters,[d] rejoice[e] in the Lord.

To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.

Eventide Lesson

Who should we honor?

“Epaphroditus delivered money from the Philippians to Paul; then he returned with this thank-you letter to Philippi. Epaphroditus may have been an elder in Philippi (Phil 2:25-30; 4:18) who, while staying with Paul, had become ill (Phil 2:27, 30). After Epaphroditus recovered, he returned home. He is mentioned only in Philippians.” [11]

“The world honors those who are intelligent, beautiful, rich, and powerful. What kind of people should the church honor? Paul indicates that we should honor those who give their lives, sometimes literally, for the sake of Christ, going where we cannot go and doing what we cannot do ourselves.” [12]

“As a safeguard, Paul reviewed the basics with these believers. The Bible is our safeguard both morally and theologically. When we read it individually and publicly in church, it alerts us to corrections we need to make in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.” [13]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [14]


Citations:

[1] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 201). New York, NY: Image Books

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite I. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 56). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Isaiah. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1105). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] House, C. P. (2009). Isaiah. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1158). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Isaiah. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1105). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] House, C. P. (2009). Isaiah. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1160). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[7] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Isaiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6542). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[8] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 107). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[9] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 99). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[10] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite I. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 69). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[11] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Philippians. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7680). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Ibid. 11

[14] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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