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Daily Devotion for July 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.
The hypnotizing chorus of this gospel number seems to have been taken from the chorus of "Bei Mir Bist du Shein", an old Yiddish song popularized by the Andrews Sisters.
Prayer for the Morning
Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.
For Each of Us in Our Work
Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life. Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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.
God and Country
No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
~ George Washington
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)
How Faith is Learned
And I, when I came to you, brothers and sisters, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Notes on the Scripture
Very obviously, from Paul's arguments we have read over the past few days, the divisions and arguments among the Christians of Corinth was the result of people applying their logic to the Gospel. They were, after all, Greek. Philosophy and logical discourse were their metier, their strong point; it was how they had been raised to approach issues of faith.
But as we have seen, Paul does not criticize them directly, but has rather been demonstrating the inadequacy of human wisdom in finding God. Yesterday, in fact, he made the point that "God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise" — God made His word known, not by logic, but by a basic spiritual knowledge often more easily grasped by the humble than the educated.
Now he uses his own actions to demonstrate how one might learn and preach the good news of Christ. He admits that he has often been afraid, in his travels and preaching, that what he was saying was not plausible. Paul was human, and he felt the rejection and mockery. No doubt, he got called "idiot" and "moron" on a daily basis; and considering how many times he was imprisoned, stoned, etc., we can only marvel at his determination.
But it is this very determination that characterizes his point: that it is the power of the spirit, not the mind, which drove his message all over Turkey and Greece, and eventually into Rome itself. Paul did not argue; he testified. He was filled with the Spirit of God, not a message of logic and wisdom, for it is ultimately impossible for us to know God solely through our minds. Anyone who wants to tell us "why" God does or does not exist, is wasting his breath, because the Spirit is beyond the human faculty of reason, beyond all wisdom and knowledge.