Daily Devotion for July 8, 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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week takes us to St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit for the anthem, Oh How Amiable, a setting of Psalm 86 by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
thou Lord of hosts!
My soul hath a desire and longing
to enter in to the courts of the Lord:
My heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young:
Even thy altars O Lord of hosts,
my king and my God.
Bessed are they that dwell in thy house:
They will be always praising thee.
The glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us:
prosper thou the work of our hands upon us.
O prosper thou our handy work,
o prosper thou our handy work.
O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home.
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant me so to die daily to sin, that I may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
but maintains the widow's boundaries.
Obadiah 1:2-4, 15 (ESV)
Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord.
For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.
Notes on the Scripture
Almost every sin is the perversion, misuse or overindulgence in a natural and good aspect of life, given to us by God. Sex is not immoral, per se. There is no sin in a good supper or wanting a nice house. And so with pride. If I have accomplished something good, should I not feel good about it? God made us real, distinct, and independent entities in His universe, and told us to be fruitful and multiply. So, pride may not be sinful.
But our satisfaction with what we have done or learned or become needs to be kept on a very tight leash, because the sin of pride is invidious. Every one of us overindulges ourselves in pride. It is the most universal of sins. And of all the sins, it is perhaps the hardest to separate from the natural and righteous pride that God allows us.
At what point does pride become sinful? At the point where it makes us feel more important, where we feel like our achievement has changed us into something better than anyone else. A person graduating from medical school will naturally feel good about his achievement. Plus, he will be happy that he has learned something that will enable him to do so much good for others. But the feeling never stops there, because we are human, born into sin. Our graduate will inevitably feel that he is now special. He will crave the status that goes along with being called "Doctor".
In today's Scripture, Obadiah points out that pride deceives us. It will usually come back to haunt us while we are still alive, for sinful pride will remain even when the source of it disappears. It becomes vanity. What is more pitiful than an aging beauty or a former star athlete, who has grown old and lost their beauty or strength, but who clings to their former glory? Pride goes before a great fall, and when we commit the sin of pride, we simply climb higher on a ladder that will someday break. Pride deceives us.
As we study and pray and grow in our love of Christ, we do not need pride as a bolster for our self-worth. We become better and better able to see through the charade, for we have tied ourselves to an absolute and infallible goodness, so powerful that He can defeat death itself. We have nothing to worry about, and one of the things we do not need to worry about is our status. Neither our self-image nor our status in the eyes of others is an issue in our lives.