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Daily Devotion for July 17, 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.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
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.
Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away
Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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.
The foundation of the Christian's peace is everlasting; it is what no time, no change can destroy. It will remain when the body dies; it will remain when the mountains depart and the hills shall be removed, and when the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll.
The fountain of His comfort shall never be diminished, and the stream shall never be dried. His comfort and joy is a living spring in the soul, a well of water springing up to everlasting life.
~ Jonathan Edwards
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Notes on the Scripture
In reading the 23d Psalm, we must keep in minds a primary difference between Christianity and Judaism, especially the beliefs of the Hebrews 3000 years ago in the time of David. Christians expect to suffer in this life. Our model is Jesus Christ, and He suffered terribly. The primary belief of Christians is victory over death; God, through Christ, will bring us to an eternal life.
But the primary focus of the Hebrews was on earthly life. They had primitive concepts of hell and practically no concept of heaven, except as the place in which God existed. This was God's covenant with them. He did not promise them eternal life for following the law, because it is impossible for a human to live the kind of perfect life under the law that would make him acceptable. They did get rewards for basic compliance, but their rewards took the form of a land to live in and safety from the constant predations of neighboring tribes.
Still, the psalm is completely amenable to being read as a Christian hymn. The last line, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever," actually has more meaning for us than for David: Our "forever" is infinite. To a Jew in the 10th century B.C., when David ruled, it might mean until the end of a long life on earth. But even to a Hebrew, "forever" seems to intimate some kind of knowledge that death might not be the end of existence.
And yet, still, the Hebrew concept of God's goodness to us on earth abides. Christ himself told us, several times, not to worry so much about what we would eat and what we would wear in the future, that God would supply his faithful, as He does to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
We can read over this Psalm again and again, for the words mean even more to us than it did to the Hebrews when it was written. We have nothing to fear from the evils of the world. Our spirit already dwells in God's house, for his holy spirit is with us even while we live, to guide us, to protect us, to comfort us. If you look at what the lives of people on earth have been like and are like today, when they do not have God, you will see that our cups run over even while we live. God will not fail us.