Daily Devotion for June 23, 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
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 John 5:6-12 (ESV)
Testimony Concerning the Son of God
This is he who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Notes on the Scripture
The word "testimony" has become such a staple of the Christian vocabulary that we forget exactly what it means. It is a solemn statement of facts given to a court. A jury does not know what has happened in a court case, and the only way they can discern the truth is if people who know something relevant come to the courtroom and testify.
And so it is with Christ, and especially the Holy Spirit. People in the world want to know the truth. We are born ignorant, and people say many different things. So those of us who know the truth must be willing to be witnesses.
John says that Christ came by water and blood, which are metaphors or symbols. Receiving the belief that leads to salvation is symbolized by baptism, for as Christ put it, when we believe in Him, we drink the water of life. Blood represents Christ's sacrifice of pain and death, as the propitiation for our sins.
Remember, John is writing partially to squash false teachings that Christ was not flesh and blood. The "water and blood" poured out of Christ's side, from a wound made by a Roman spear. He gave back a human life as his own body poured out onto the ground. The blood imagery is kind of gross, but it is important, because it connects the material aspect of our own physical life to the miracle of eternal life in the spirit.
The water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit are all God's testimony to us. They are His proof to us that life will continue to exist after our bodies die, and that such life can exist in great joy and happiness through the miracle of salvation.
But in our daily lives, it is the third gift that becomes most important: the Holy Spirit. We know the Holy Spirit directly. It is the "living" aspect of the living God. It is not just something we are told about; it is something we can know first-hand.
In other words, the Holy Spirit testifies to us that God lives with us and in us. And through us, through our testimony in word and deed, the Holy Spirit reaches out to the world.
If it occurs to us to wonder, "Why do I believe in God and Christ," it is because the voice of the Holy Spirit testifies to us. It is not a voice we hear with our ears, but with our heart.