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Daily Devotion for June 16, 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
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.
Why We Worship
It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.
~ C. S. Lewis, from Reflections on the Psalms
1 John 3:19-24 (GOD's WORD Translation)
This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and how we will be reassured in his presence.
Whenever our conscience condemns us, we will be reassured that God is greater than our conscience and knows everything. Dear friends, if our conscience doesn't condemn us, we can boldly look to God and receive from him anything we ask. We receive it because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
This is his commandment: to believe in his Son, the one named Jesus Christ, and to love each other as he commanded us. Those who obey Christ's commandments live in God, and God lives in them. We know that he lives in us because he has given us the Spirit.
Notes on the Scripture
One difficulty every Christian faces in his journey is that, sometimes, we question whether we really abide in Christ, or whether we are living in God's grace and have found salvation. Most of us seem stuck in specific kinds of sinful behavior. Many men have difficulty with lust. Many of us find it nearly impossible not to get angry in certain situations. Envy and covetousness for material possession is another area where many of us have problems.
Although this passage is difficult, as it reads a little out of order and seems to contradict itself, it gives us some guidance in marking spiritual progress. First, we need to read it in the context of the entire section on loving one another. (1 John 3:11-24)
John, echoing Christ, defines two basic "commandments", faith in God (Christ) and love for others. The opposite of love is hate. John is telling us that when we reach the point where we do not hate anybody, we will know we belong to Christ. Specifically, John has told us that "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer." (1 John 3:15) He has said this before, in verse 14: "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers."
Hate is different from anger. Anger is an instantaneous emotion, an innate reaction, and although we might learn to control it, it might escape us in a second. Hatred is a long-term grudge. To hate someone, you have to rehearse the reasons and nurse it. One of its roots is an attitude that we have the right to judge another person. Hatred can be overcome with prayer, not easily and not always quickly, but with the help of the Holy Spirit it is within our capability.
When we have overcome our hatred with love and obedience, we can be reassured in God's presence. We know we belong to the truth. But note, John has just instructed us that love is a matter of deeds, not words; so we must show our love in our actions.
John does not mean that we are condemned, if we are struggling with love and hatred of others, or when we have a guilty conscience. "Whenever our conscience condemns us, we will be reassured that God is greater than our conscience." We will still be saved, if we confess our sin and ask for forgiveness, believing in Christ. But it will be harder for us to feel the full peace and joy of God's blessed grace.