Monday, March 21, 2016

His Princess Every Day - Monday, March 21, 2016

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

I Will Defend You

My Beloved Bride,

When anyone speaks hurtful words to you, they are coming against me. You are my vessel of honor and a trophy of my grace. Look to me for the truth when lies are spoken to you. Anyone who tries to hinder you will have to deal with me, my love. Hide yourself in my treasured word; I will remind you of your immeasurable worth as many times as it takes. I am your Lord and your Prince. The battles you face are not yours, my bride; they are mine to fight for you. I can take their insults and attacks, but you are too tender to handle spiritual war all alone. So stand behind me and let me defend you until the end!

Your Lord and defender

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;
I will never leave you nor forsake you. - Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

Prayer to my Prince

My Lord,

I desperately need you to heal my heart from all the lies that have been spoken to me. Teach me day by day as I sit with you, reading in Your Word what my true identity is. I am ready to trade all the lies for your truth. I am ready to allow you to renew my mind and refresh my spirit once again. Thank you for never giving up on me even when I give up on myself.

Your Princess who loves your truth

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds. - Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells

Today the church remembers Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1711.

Most Americans are familiar with the doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow", but few will recognize the name of its author, Thomas Ken. He was one of those rare souls who steered a straight course through the troubled waters of seventeenth-century England.

Defending the "Via Media," he boldly defied three kings: Charles II, whose marital infidelity he condemned; James II, whose edicts Ken refused to read in church; and William of Orange, whose legal right to the throne he denied. This last protestation cost Ken his diocese. After more than ten years of wandering about jobless and homeless, he was finally reconciled to the Church of England under Queen Anne. He was then too old and infirm to resume the work of a bishop.

Thomas Ken was a masterful teacher, hymn writer, and pastor. He always lived very simply and he never married. The words of his will are a classic statement of his faith. "I die in the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith, professed by the whole Church, before the disunion of East and West: more particularly I die in the communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from all Papal and Puritan Innovations."

O God, we give you thanks for the purity and strength with which you did endow your servant Thomas Ken. Amen.

Almighty God, you gave your servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us strength also that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily Readings for March 21, 2016 - Monday in Holy Week

Isaiah 42:1-9
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Psalm 36:5-11
5   Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.
6   Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; you save both man and beast, O LORD.
7   How priceless is your love, O God! your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8   They feast upon the abundance of your house; you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9   For with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light.
10   Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, and your favor to those who are true of heart.
11   Let not the foot of the proud come near me, nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.

Hebrews 9:11-15
But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.

John 12:1-11
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

Daily Meditation for March 21, 2016 - Monday in Holy Week

From Forward Day by Day
John 12:10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well.

The authorities wanted Jesus dead. His teaching was a threat to the established order. They wanted Lazarus dead, too, but for a different reason. Lazarus’s very life was a testimony of God’s power to raise the dead. His existence was a rebuke to the world of fear, might, and commerce. Every time Lazarus spoke, no matter what he said, he was testifying to a different reality of hope, life, and love.

It’s not so different in our time. Someone who wanted to extinguish hope gunned down Martin Luther King Jr. Those who commit hate crimes against people because of their race or sexual orientation or religion—people who may be thriving and happy—are trying to extinguish hope. One way to understand Holy Week is to see it as a battle between fear and hope, between hatred and love. These are not just 2,000-year-old problems. What we experience in Holy Week is real today, as too often God’s people are slaughtered for testifying to hope and love. Let us enter fully into this Holy Week, and let us enter fully into the embrace of hope in our time.

Verse of the Day - March 21, 2016

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”