Daily Devotion for January 27, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
by James Rowe
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me!
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I'll cling,
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul's best songs,
Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He's the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.
The Heart of a Child
Grant me this day, O God,
the heart of a child.
pure and transparent as a spring;
a simple heart, which never harbors sorrows;
a heart glorious in self-giving, tender in compassion;
a heart faithful and generous,
which will never forget any good or bear a grudge for any evil.
Make me a heart gentle and humble,
loving without asking any return,
large-hearted and undauntable,
which no ingratitude can sour and no indifference can weary;
a heart penetrated by the love of Jesus
whose desire will only be satisfied in heaven.
Grant me, O Lord, the mind and heart of your dear Son.
To Hold Fast in a Changing World
Lord, when I see how the world is changing, sometimes I begin to feel unsure. Please help me not to embrace anything that is forbidden by you, but to measure all things by your divine yardstick. What used to be commonplace truth is frowned upon and new standards are being espoused, standards that you did not set out for us. Let me follow only your way. Let me hear only your voice, not the voices of those who do not believe in your teachings. Let me celebrate and rejoice with those who do believe in you.
Help me to stand firm always, and gain my strength through faith, prayer, study of your Word, and worship. Let me turn my head from things that destroy or weaken me. Let me say no to the forbidden that lasts for a short moment in time, looking ahead to the pleasures you have waiting for all who follow your path to eternal glory. Thank you, Lord, for the wisdom to say no to man’s constant, changing lifestyles that steal me away from you. Keep my eyes fixed on you. I ask this in the name your Son, Jesus Christ,
[Let me measure all things by God's yardstick.]
Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Now these persons about whom I have been speaking have found the secret of touching hearts; as they are no longer on the lookout for their own advantage, they do not even know whether they are doing good.
In a certain sense, they do not even desire to do good; rather they have only one desire: to follow the impulse of the Holy Spirit. As to good or poor success, they calmly leave that to God… Let us call on the Spirit, therefore, so that she call fill us with her gifts.
~ Madeleine Sophie (Barat), 1827,
speaking about the teachers at her school
1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 (DP)
23-28 And now, may the God of Peace Himself sanctify you completely, preserving your spirit and soul and body without flaw for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Know that He will do this, for our God is a faithful God.
Pray for us. Greet your fellow saints with a holy kiss. And I charge you before God, make sure this epistle is read to everyone in the church.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
23 Himself the god of peace may he sanctify you perfect [r]Or complete. Do not read “perfect” as an adverb; “sanctify” has a double direct object (called an object-complement). Read “sanctify you to be perfect,” i.e. “so that you are perfect.” , and flawless [s]Or complete (predicate adjective of preserve). of you the spirit and the soul and the body blamelessly in the coming of the lord of us Jesus Christ preserve.
24 Faithful is the one calling you, which also he will do.
25 Brothers, pray also concerning us.
26 Greet the brothers all with kiss holy.
27 I adjure you the lord [t]Idiomatic double direct object of persons, peculiar to oaths: I adjure you by the Lord. to be read the epistle to all the brothers.
28 The grace of lord of us Jesus Christ with you.
v. 23 – [r] or complete; [s] or complete (predicate adjective of preserve).
v. 27 – [t] Idiomatic double direct object of persons, peculiar to oaths: I adjure you by the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
As with the introduction, the concluding words signal the theme of the letter. It comes as no surprise that Paul returns to sanctification, an issue very much on his mind in regards to the church of Thessalonica. Although it is short, by comparison to many of his later epistles, 1 Thess. contains some of Paul's best writing on Christian holiness; what is expected of them, and what they should expect.
e certainly lets them know that their growth in sanctification lies, at least partially, in their own hands. And it would have not come as a surprise to them, for at several points he has used terms like “just as you are doing”. Many or most of them understand the nature of the great gift they have received. The tone of the letter is encouraging rather than corrective, as many of the later letters will be.
Why does Paul say, “Pray for us,” and why does he mention so often his prayers for them? When thinking of sanctification, one might be tempted to reason, why bother praying for the holiness of my brother or sister, when we believe the resurrection will certainly consummate the person's sanctification? It really does not make sense, especially given Paul's major emphasis on the Day of Judgment in the letter. There is more than one area, however, where we follow God's instructions whether or not we understand them. There is a modicum of mystery in Christianity. We must always keep in mind that Paul is not simply a talented and dedicated evangelist, but an apostle of Christ. Paul is Christ's agent; his words carry the weight of the Deity.
We might reason that holiness comes to us, in part, by the active participation of other believers in our lives, and our participation by prayer in the holiness of our brothers and sisters is God's will in somehow assisting them in their quest. We are each personally accountable for the faith of other Christians.
The conclusion carries a famous line that flummoxes many a Christian: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The standard rationale for not following this teaching literally is that Paul simply intended that they use the accepted greeting of good friends within the society of the time. So today, a handshake is the same thing. But there is a real problem with this rationale: It was not the habit of Macedonians in the 1st century, and was definitely not the habit of Jews, to kiss people outside their family! They were in some ways less likely to do so than we, for husbands did not even kiss their wives in public.
This teaching caused as much consternation in the early church as it does today, but for a different reason. They were most uncomfortable with a woman kissing someone other than her husband. And by the time of Augustine, holy kisses were shared only by people of the same gender. We, on the other hand, might find it easy enough to kiss someone else's spouse, but generally balk the most at men kissing one another.
It says what it says. If we test the matter against the Gospel, we should be greeting each other with a “holy kiss”.