Daily Devotion for August 29, 2009
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.
The beautiful and touching Hosanna from the Soweto Gospel Choir, a renown professional choir from South Africa.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, who taught the hearts of all faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit; Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day. I pray in the name of my beloved Lord, Jesus Christ,
Prayer for Deliverance
Dear Lord, grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
[Am I temperate in food and drink?]
O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,
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.
Count Your Blessings
Count your blessings, not your crosses;
Count your gains instead of losses.
Count your joys instead of woes;
Count your friends instead of foes.
Count your smiles instead of tears;
Count your courage, not your fears.
Count full years instead lean;
Count kind deeds instead of mean.
Count your health instead of wealth;
Love your neighbor as yourself.
John 10:1-10 (ESV)
Jesus the Good Shepherd
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus is still arguing with the Pharisees here, hot on the heels of their investigation of the blind man whom he healed, and all that he said during their questioning.
e launches into a long metaphor, in which the people of earth are compared to sheep and the world their pen. Anyone who honestly wants to tend the sheep will enter by the door or gate; but the thief, who would kill and destroy the sheep, must climb over the fence. The door, the only entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven, is open only to Jesus himself, for he is the Son of God who has come to save humanity.
He is really keeping the pressure on them. Remember, they are the religious and secular authority, and many of them are seeking to arrest him for execution. He has just told them they were blind, fatherless, and sinful. Now, he goes even further, and obliquely compares them to thieves and robbers!
Time and again, over the ages, Christians have looked beyond the Bible and taken untenable attitudes towards Judaism, swinging between two preposterous extremes. The virulent anti-Semitism of the Middle Ages resulted in countless evil, un-Christian acts of violence towards Jews. At the other extreme, one sees Jews treated as some sort of religious allies by many Christians. Some seem driven by conservative politics, wanting the State of Israel to wage successful war against Muslim counties. Some seem driven by liberal politics, such as the drive towards diversity or inclusiveness, or guilt over the Nazi holocaust. Both ignore the teachings of Christ.
To those who somehow would give the Old Testament continuing vitality, we must ask them to consider the direct teaching of Jesus in today’s Scripture. Or John 14:6: “No one comes to the father except through me.”
To those who would hate the JewsThere has been a resurgence in anti-Semitism in Europe recently, although one must suspect this comes primarily from Muslims rather than Christians., there is direct Scripture to the contrary: Paul tells us, “Give no offense to Jews.” 1 Cor. 10:32. Admittedly, this is taken out of context, but it makes a good, concise “sound bite.” More fundamentally, anyone who has read and understood the New Testament will understand that “love your neighbor as yourself” includes all non-Christians, Jew or not. E.g. Luke 10:25-37. Our love for non-Christians extends to those who murder Christians, in our prayer that they may be forgiven for their sins as we have been. (Acts 7:54-60.)