Daily Devotion for July 25, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
For the bird who sings outside my window,or the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,
Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To see them all and know that you are here.
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (ESV)
Divisions in the Church
But I, brothers and sisters, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.
For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul returns to hammer home a point he made in Chapter 1: Christian teachers and ministers are servants of God, not elevated figures to lead factions and divisions. Factionalism has no place in a Christian church. For a Christian leader to take credit and pride in the size of his flock is a self contradiction, for it bespeaks the same sinful pride as comes to an atheist who has achieved something in the material world.
Our pride in our achievements is always tempered by the fact that we are not responsible for the means to create and sustain anything. We may plant a seed and tend to the plant, but the tomato we grow is not nearly so much our achievement as God's. Paul actually says that we have not achieved anything, and it is easy to see his point, for just as we did not create the soil or the sun or the water, we did not create our own arm that plants the seed.
And so, Paul tells us, people who accept Christ but continue to look to other men as the source of their faith are like babies, for they have not fully grasped or accepted the nature of God's will. People are attached to the flesh and it is hard to break bad habits; so Paul might act important, to a degree, while converts are still nursing. But for those who say they follow a certain human being and engage in dividing themselves into groups, they are still acting our of human, not spiritual, motives.
Imagine Paul's dismay if he could have watched historical Christianity unfold over the next 2000 years. The people of Corinth were a miniscule forewarning of the religious strife, and the secularization of the church, that has characterized Christianity to this day.
It has become so entrenched in society that an Army dog tag will not identify a solider as Christian, but rather as Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. Paul reviles this attitude. "Neither he who plants nor he who waters" — meaning the person who converts and the person who leads others in the love and worship of Christ — "is anything." Only God saves souls, and it is only to God that we must give our allegiance.