Daily Devotion for August 13, 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
Blessed are you, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who removes sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. I thank you for all that you have done while I was asleep, watching over me and all your children while we slept unaware, and I pray that my thoughts and acts this day may show forth my love and thanks for you and all you have done for me.
Help me through your Holy Spirit, that I may remember what you have taught me in the Bible and it may show forth in my every deed. Let me not wander into the hands of sin, nor into the hands of pride or perversity, not into the hands of temptation, nor into the hands of shame, but steer my inclinations towards goodness and charity this morning and all the day. In the name of Christ I pray.
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
I pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. I pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
“Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.”
~ John Calvin
1 Corinthians 9:16-23 (JBP)
Paul Discusses His Ministry 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul's use of athletic contests as an analogy was not random, but chosen for his specific audience. Corinth, like Olympia, was the site of a great games held every four years, in which athletes from all over would assemble to compete for prizes and honor. We know of the Olympic games, because they were revived in 1896, but they were actually one of four such assemblies. So the people of Corinth would be accustomed to seeing great athletes in training and competition.
This follows Paul's discussion of his ministry. He has discussed how those who spend all their time in God's service should be supported by the community without complaint, but how he, himself, has taken no such reward. Rather, he has given his life from a calling, a dedication. And in the preceding sentence, he tells us how important it is to him, that he do so properly.
Here, he speaks first in general, and then specifically about himself. In general, he shows the extraordinary sacrifice and devotion a runner or boxer will show to train for the contest. They, like athletes today, spend every day in effort and pain. They deny themselves unhealthy food and wine, and many other basic pleasures. They endure fatigue, boredom, and pain, for no reason other than a hope that, at some time in the distant future, they might have a wreath placed on their head.
So why would a person not make similar sacrifices to achieve an infinitely greater reward? We do not prepare ourselves to stand on a podium for a brief minute, for the fleeting glory of the acclaim of men. We prepare ourselves for something so great it defies description; we cannot even fully understand it. We do not prepare ourselves for the kingdom of television, but for the Kingdom of God.
Paul then uses the image of an athlete in training in a different way, to talk about his own physical self-denial as part of his journey towards Christ. He doesn't "work out", as we say today, but he does keep his indulgence in physical gratification under control.
This last idea is valued, not simply by Christians, but by anyone who wants to achieve something. Anyone, Christian or not, who wants to achieve something with their life, will know how helpful it is to keep one's body as healthy as possible.
Today in Daily Prayer
2 Corinthians 4:16: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon