Daily Devotion for June 18, 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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
1 John 4:1-6 (ESV)
Telling Truth from Lies
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Notes on the Scripture
The difficulty in truly understanding this passage is not the practical message. John tells us to listen only to prophets who confess their belief that Jesus was a real human being and was the Messiah. The aim is to prevent Christians from being seduced by charismatic sect leaders with aberrant messages, and thus putting their access to God's grace in peril.
The difficulty — which is easy to ignore — is John's underlying assumption: belief is motivated by a spirit.
Secularists do not think that spirits exist. They believe that everything that motivates us is part of the visible world. But this is impossible for a Christian. Jesus explicitly promised us that God would send a spirit to be with us, which we call the Holy Spirit. The very word "spiritual" presupposes that there is at least one spirit, apart from the visible world and outside of ourselves.
It is very easy to pay lip service to the concept that their is a Holy Spirit without really believing or understanding what it means: There is an invisible being, completely external to us, which can affect our behavior. This being is our conduit to God. It is somewhat like a two-way radio.
If you have not availed yourself of the Holy Spirit as a real presence, you have cut yourself off from a powerful force. The greatest difficulty with accessing the teaching, comfort, and power of the Holy Spirit, is that its voice is easily drowned out. Notice that people with strong beliefs in spirits tend to live in isolated areas, where they are not constantly bombarded by human communication. Monks often takes vows of silence for this very reason.
People find themselves moved by the Spirit in many ways, including, sometimes, very raucous worship ceremonies. But the Holy Spirit is always available. Find a comfortable and quiet place, close your eyes, and simply ask the Holy Spirit to be with you. People say they hear the Spirit, or are "touched" by it, but these are analogies. You (probably) will not actually hear a voice or feel a physical touch; rather, you will simply know.
Today in Daily Prayer
Matthew 6:3-4: When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon