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Daily Devotion for July 21, 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 women of the Antrim Mennonite Choir give us a beautiful message that we can carry in our hearts all week.
Prayer for the Morning
May all I do today begin with you, O Lord. Plant dreams and hopes within my soul and revive my tired spirit: be with me today. Be at my side and walk with me; be my support, that your hand may be seen in every action I take, that your goodness may be in every word I speak, and that your spirit may inhabit my every thought. Make my thoughts, my work, and my very life blessings for your kingdom. In Christ's name I pray,
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all humanity, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of people; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
“They say love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.”
~ William Penn
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)
Who is Wise?
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul's primary target here is Greek philosophy, which is to say, the fruitlessness of human endeavors to know God by logic. The Greeks had, for centuries, been the center of schools of philosophers who believed they could eventually discover ultimate truth by thinking things through. They devised elaborate metaphysical schemes to explain puzzles like the "meaning of meaning" and the purpose of life.
There were among them great thinkers; Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were so powerful in their thought that they are still known to us today and, often, still read and discussed. But there is a line between God and man that cannot be crossed.
Our brains are simply not instruments capable of understanding God; God must come to us. "The foolishness of God is wiser than men," which is to say, the simplest thing about God is not within the mental capability of the smartest human.
The Greeks, like many of the more vocal atheists today, think the idea of God is stupid. And it is! But the foolishness of God to human logic shows only the weakness of the human mind.
The other folly Paul discusses, typical of the Jews of his day and superstitious people today, is to "demand signs". They expect that God will be known through their senses or their emotions rather than the mind.
This expectation is closer to the truth than the Greek, for God did make himself known through miracles. Christ was known by signs, a phenomenon emphasized in John's Gospel. The difficulty for those who say "I'll believe it when I see it" is that God is in charge, not us. He performs His miracles if and when He sees fit.
We are perfectly capable of finding God through his word and through the spirit. For he has, in his wisdom, fitted our brains with a receiver that can actually know him. But it works only if we seek him through the spirit, rather than demanding signs as proof, or trying to find him with inadequate human logic.