Daily Devotion for July 28, 2021
In one of the most iconic moments of Christian symbolism, Christ enters Jerusalem, not on a great white stallion, not surrounded by an army to take up a crown of gold, but on a humble donkey, to endure a crown of thorns.
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.
1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.
2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.
3. I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.
4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment–he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.
6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”
Music by George Coles, 1792-1858
Lyrics by James Montgomery, 1771-1854
Prayer for the Morning
Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.
Prayer for the Neglected
Almighty and most merciful God, I remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it is so easy for me to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, those who repel others by their appearance or personality, and all who have none to care for them. Help me to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What does Romans 14:1 teach us?
Proverbs 17:24 (NKJV)
Wisdom is in the sight
of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool
are on the ends of the earth.
Isaiah 42:1-9 (ESV)
ehold 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 aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
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 on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for 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 carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”
Notes on the Scripture
A Light to the Nations
Isaiah here gives a great poetic tribute to Christ. His words are equally applicable to the Hebrews and to Christ’s disciples. If you read the passage with the thought that he is talking about Christ, Israel, Paul, or yourself, it makes sense.
The third paragraph is something that has confounded people for thousands of years. Many Hebrews expected that their Messiah would come with a sword and an earthly crown; the appearance and divinity of Jesus was a shock to them. He preached a doctrine of peace and humility. He did not raise armies to conquer by force; He did not seek to take the power of civil government from Herod or the Romans. Instead, he submitted to force and, even in death, conquered the world by truth and goodness.
The battle continues to rage in our lifetime, as it has since Christ’s ascension. We are torn between two mighty forces. One is the law of nature, the survival of the fittest. It teaches us to build weapons, fight and kill if necessary, to seize power, to promote ourselves and make our abilities and accomplishments as public as possible. Few people are humble on television. The world preaches its doctrine in the language of anger and pride.
The other is the law of God, the survival of the meek, whom Jesus promised would inherit the earth. It tells us not to “cry or lift up [our] voice, or make it heard in the street.” We should be so gentle that we would not even break the most fragile thing possible, which Isaiah calls “a bruised reed.”
Christ promised that His Kingdom would come and would prevail over all. We pray for the coming of His Kingdom every day. But we must absorb His words: “My Kingdom is not of this world.”
Philip the Apostle
Albrecht Durer 1505
There have been people with the strength of faith to practice this doctrine in life. Quakers would die before they would go to war, even refusing to defend themselves. But very few can live lives of pacifism. People don’t want to die; they don’t want to be conquered by other nations; they don’t want to be walked over during their lives by people of less ability and fewer scruples.
We must do the best we can with this. If we ever begin to feel self-righteous, like we are paragons of Christian virtue, we must ask ourselves if we have followed this, the hardest of all the Bible’s teachings.
When others assault you, physically or verbally, do you turn the other cheek? When someone sues you for your shirt, do you give him your cloak as well? Or do you hire a lawyer and defend your property? We all sin and fall short of the glory of God; but we can at least be truthful with ourselves about where we have fallen short and confess our shortcomings, rather than pretending they don’t exist.