Daily Devotion for August 7, 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
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love. and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
Prayer of Surrender
All to Jesus, I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
1 Corinthians 7:25-31 (ESV)
The Unmarried and the Widowed 
Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.
This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
Notes on the Scripture
In a sense, today's selection is not part of the "Bible" because Paul very clearly gives us to understand that this is advice, not Scripture. It is not the teaching of Paul, the prophet-apostle charged by God to bring Christ to the world, but Paul the man, giving advice to his friends. It is not canonical.
Paul never predicted the Day of Judgment, and his talk about time growing short is ambiguous. Did he think that Christ would return in a year, or ten? He never says such, but it is possible to read his epistles as implying that he did. Or was he speaking more generally about the shortness of life, how fleeting our four score years actually are, compared to an earth that is four or five billion years old, and a God to whom the earth's age is just the blink of an eye?
Paul is often depicted as against marriage, but it isn't true. At most, he tells people they should not feel pressured to marry, that it is good to be celibate in Christ's service. And the only reason he gives is simply that being single is less troublesome than being married.
At the end of this passage, he delves into an odd flight of mysticism, where he urges everyone to live as if Christ were returning in the morning, or next week. To live, that is, as if they were on the verge of passing into the next life. It sounds as if he is describing the attitude of one of the sequestered monastic orders to come in later centuries, where men and women would live without spouses, without goods, without mourning or celebration, in a state of constant worship, taking part in the world only to the degree necessary to keep their bodies alive.