Daily Devotion for June 13, 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.
It's time for another trip down "Memory Lane", as Tennessee Ernie Ford, a popular singer in the 1950s, performs one of the most comforting hymns of all time.
But I must go alone
Till the Lord comes and calls, calls me away.
Well the morning's so bright
And the lamp is alight
And the night, night is as fair as the day.
[Alt: And the night is as dark as the sea.]
There will be peace in the valley for me,
There will be peace in the valley for me,
oh Lord I pray.
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me.
Well the bear will be gentle
And the wolves will be tame,
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb.
And the beasts from the wild
Shall be led by a child,
And I'll be changed, changed from this creature
That I am.
Prayer for the Morning
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are you for giving me the people who surround me, including those family and friends I might have, to be with me in times of joy and sorrow, to help me in days of need, and to rejoice with me in moments of celebration; and let me realize how much the comforts of this life, and knowledge of the life to come, may depend on the work of others.
Father, I praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends; and for the Your Holy Spirit, which gives every person, no matter how isolated, the blessing of love and friendship. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
1 John 3:4-10
Sinners and Righteousness
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Notes on the Scripture
Here, John steers perilously close to a doctrine of righteousness by works; that is, a belief that we can be saved because we act correctly and do not sin. But that is not his intention. John, like Paul, was committed to a doctrine of righteousness by faith, not works.
We cannot be saved by our works, for it is in our nature to sin, and we cannot overcome it. But when we sin, as John said earlier, "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins."
To understand John's meaning, we must remember that this epistle was motivated by the multitude of false teachers who had sprung up. He was trying to help the readers discern who they should listen to and who they should ignore. He is not preaching, but guiding.
And the advice he gives is as true as it ever was. Who should we listen to, for teaching and guidance in our faith? Adulterers, or angry judgmental preachers, or those who are greedy for money and power? No. We know that no human will be perfect, for "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." But when it comes to teachers, preachers, ministers and priests, we must choose those whose follow the basic precepts of Christianity in their own lives.
Paul gave similar advice in 1 Timothy and Titus, e.g. "Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. . . ." (Timothy 3:8)
This might be seen as an exception to the commandment that we not judge others, but it is only a partial one. We are still not allowed to judge Christian teachers as people, or as Christians. But we must use our judgment to decide who to entrust with our knowledge of God's word.