Daily Devotion for June 15, 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.
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done. All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
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.
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.
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Notes on the Scripture
"Love" in the New Testament has a specific meaning, a bit different from most uses of the word. It is an emotion, and emotions are always hard to define. You really cannot know an emotion unless you experience it. But John chooses to tell us what it means by showing us what a person does who experiences it. Specifically, Christian love is whatever caused Christ to die for us.
Not only did Christ die for others, but, first, He did so because others had sinned. He was paying the price for crimes committed by other people. And second, these were people whom He had never met and who, possibly, hated him! Some of them would thank him later, but still, imagine being executed for something somebody else had done, and that person is someone who dislikes you so much that he participates in the lynching.
Whatever would cause a person to do such a preposterous thing defines Christian love. It is sacrificing things of this world for the sake of other people, with no hope of earthly reward. We seek a greater reward: true communion with the One God.
John takes a swipe at hypocrisy, too. It is easier to talk about such love than to practice it, for talking about it costs us nothing. Talking about it is good; Christian love is a state so hard to reach for us, that we need all the support we can get. But talking about love is not love, but talk. It is our deeds that can constitute real love.