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Daily Devotion for June 8, 2012
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.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
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.
But a foolish man despises his mother.
1 John 2:18-20 (ESV)
Warning Concerning Antichrists
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
Notes on the Scripture
From the first, there have been challenges for evangelists: People denied Christ when He was alive, and after He died, arose, and ascended, people continued to deny Him, as they do today. This is and was the basic battle of Chrisian missions, bringing the gospel to people who did not know it or had not accepted it, that they might find Christ and eternal life in Him. Then came the problem of backsliding, that is, people who had been saved suffering from a lapse of faith.
But now, John finds, a new problem had arisen. He began to hear people who had been saved but then went wrong, not by simply lapsing into the world of the flesh, but by perverting and misrepresenting the truth, making up stories that they presented as the word of God, but which would lead listeners back into the darkness.
In John we encounter the term "antichrist" for the first and only time. Our understanding of the term has been distorted by Hollywood, which has co-opted The Antichrist as a caricature for horror movies. The Bibilical use is less colorful. John invented the term to describe Christians who stray from the truth, or people who simply invent some warped version of Christianity, and try to convince others to join them. They find Christ but then lose Him, by grafting onto His gospel ideas from their own, often insane, minds.
Many such false teachers were beginning to appear towards the end of the first century. Of course, they have been with us ever since, and we still have them today.
John calls the appearance of these false teachers the herald of "the last hour". He does not mean that the end of the world is coming next week. God's revelation to, and salvation of, mankind has come in stages or epochs, and the appearance of antichrists is the final epoch. There was the epoch of Adam and Eve; the epoch of Noah; then Abraham, when the first covenant was established; then Moses when the law was established; then the establishment and history of Israel; then Christ; and then, after Christ had ascended, the era of spreading the gospel.
Now, we are in the last era, the final hour. God has made salvation available to all nations, so that all might be saved. He has given us a final battle, the battle against those who would pervert Christ's word. However long it may take, we are in the final stage of man's relationship with God.
The antichrist is with us, in the form of aggressive atheism and perverted ideas about God.