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Daily Devotion for July 15, 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.
The William & Mary College Choir singing an early setting of Rejoice in the Lord Alway (Philippians 4:4).
Prayer for the Morning
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,
For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Surrender
All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
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.
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.
We run carelessly to the precipice, after we have put something before us to prevent us from seeing it.
~ Blaise Pascal
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
Notes on the Scripture
There was a saying in ancient Greece: "If you want to make the gods laugh, make plans." Or, as Robert Burns put it several millenia later, "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, gang aft agley" (i.e., often go astray). Proverbs has its own twist on this adage, but with a more positive twist than simply stating it as a witticism.
The first stanza is hard to interpret, but the best meaning (and the only likely intended) is similar to the other quotes: We will always be making arrangements and schemes and bringing them to God in prayer, asking for His help in bringing them about. But God's answer may be different from what we had hoped. Were we possessed of infinite wisdom and knowledge, we might understand why. But we are not that smart and we are not in charge. While we think that our plans may be in our best interest, or for the greater glory of God, we can be wrong.
In other words, our ways may be pure in our own eyes, but our vision is dim. Every one of us is blind to some of our faults, and even where our vision is unclouded, we are myopic. We can easily be wrong. We cannot even see the world as it is, for the world of the spirit is largely beyond our perception.
We cannot even predict minor physical outcomes with accuracy; we can think a simple screw will hold something in place, but it fails. Only God has the ability to see what ultimate good or evil something will bring and only God has the purity and the vision to know how it will come out. To God, a plan we have prayed to Him for help with, may seem like a small child who wants to put his finger in a light socket or give the cat a bath.
Our plans and our actions are important; we can change the world in a real way. Moreover, God will often help us. Especially if we do work committed to the glory of God, our actions will bear fruit (whether we can see it or not). But we must accept that we are not, ultimately, in charge, nor should we be.