Daily Devotion for July 26, 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
Today is the day you made, O God. My heart rejoices in this day and the opportunities it holds for me to experience more of Your loving presence.
I open my spirit to You, and I give thanks for Your life that fills every cell of my body and life. I open my eyes to You, and I give thanks for Your light that warms and brightens my day. I open my heart to You, and I give thanks for Your life that fills me with compassion, understanding, and peace. I open my soul to You, and I give thanks for Your presence in my life and in the lives of the people I hold dear.
Thank You, God, for all that You are and for the blessings that fill every moment of every day. Through Christ I pray.
Prayer for the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May Your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may Your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with voice of Your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Morning Place
The gates of morning open,
And there at break of day
I hear my fellow members
Inviting me to pray.
Amid the cares before me
I kneel with quiet heart,
To let His peaceful presence
A Blessing sweet impart.
And through the day that follows
I find God everywhere,
Because I stopped to seek Him
In the morning place of prayer.
1 Corinthians 3:10-17 (ESV)
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul gives us here an unusual paradigm for how to view our life. He analogizes a life to a building. When we are reborn in Christ, we basically tear down that building and start again, for the foundation of our life is no longer the meeting of animal needs, but our faith.
It is nothing new to us to think of "building a life" but it is unique to the Bible; it seems like a very modern concept. What we build with our lives, then, will be examined in the final days. The structure we build will be tested by fire, representing God's judgment. We can build with straw or wood, which are highly flammable and will be destroyed by fire. So, naturally, if we want the accomplishments of our life to survive the test, we will build using materials that survive flame.
Paul doesn't mention the obvious, stone; one just has to wonder if he didn't want to refer so directly to Peter, whom Christ called the foundation stone of his church. And, as you will remember from 1 Peter, Peter referred to the faithful as "living stones" from which Christ would build His church.
But if our works are built from precious metals and stones, they will survive the test. So, then, Paul envisions that our good works will survive our death and somehow remain with us after the final judgment. He by no means moves away from the concept of salvation by faith, for even the person who has built a house of straw will survive.
Paul does not illustrate or amplify his metaphor. One must envision a person who lives a good, simple life, or who struggles with his faith, but does not engage in much charity or active work building the church, as a person who builds his life from combustibles. These are the materials of the world, and they will not survive the day of judgment.
But for those who build in the foundation of their faith, using part or all of their lives in affirmative support of Christian faith and self-sacrifice for love of their fellows, he envisions a greater reward of some sort. Our good deeds, in other words, will survive judgment.
Finally, he coins the concept of our body as a temple. This is meant to be literal. In Jewish tradition, God was actually present in the inner room of the Temple, where the Ark of the Covenant was stored, just as the Holy Spirit is actually present within us. We then, by our rebirth in Christ, become holy ourselves. For we are the structure within which God dwells.