Daily Devotion for June 20, 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
Blessed are you, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who removes sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. I thank you for all that you have done while I was asleep, watching over me and all your children while we slept unaware, and I pray that my thoughts and acts this day may show forth my love and thanks for you and all you have done for me.
Help me through your Holy Spirit, that I may remember what you have taught me in the Bible and it may show forth in my every deed. Let me not wander into the hands of sin, nor into the hands of pride or perversity, not into the hands of temptation, nor into the hands of shame, but steer my inclinations towards goodness and charity this morning and all the day. In the name of Christ I pray.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness."
1 John 4:12-17 (ESV)
Seeing God Through Love
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Notes on the Scripture
There are enormous implications to John's first sentence — "No one has seen God at any time." For we have seen manifestations of God. The person of God the Father made himself famously manifest to Moses and Abraham; in Abraham's case, He took on the form of an ordinary man and conversed with him. The Word was made manifest as a flesh-and-blood human being, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit took visible form several times in the New Testament.
John, of course, was well aware of this. So what does he mean?
He means, the actual being we call God is incomprehensible to us. He exists outside the boundaries of time, space, and matter; in fact, God is infinite and created the finite universe in which we exist. Our universe is, in effect, a sealed box. How can anyone be so prideful or short-sighted not to realize that something may exist outside of it, and not be subject to its rules and limitations?
So how can we know God? Why do we believe in Him?
God manifests Himself to us, out of love for us, so that we can know Him. And for our generation, the most available manifestation is the Holy Spirit, for it is still with us, as Christ promised it would be. The Spirit cannot be quantified or even detected by science; and yet, once we accept Christ into our heart, we become capable of knowing the Spirit and "abiding" with it. We can't hear it or see it, but we can see its power, in the way it changes lives. And, if we ask it, the way it will change our own lives.
"By this we know that we abide in [God], and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." Knowing the Holy Spirit is a key to deepening our faith, because by the Spirit, and only by the Spirit, we can know God first-hand.