Daily Devotion for August 27, 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.
This impossibly beautiful Russian Orthodox hymn is sung a capella, in the old style.
"Hallelujah. Behold, the bridegroom comes in the middle of the night. Blessed is the servant whom he shall find watching."
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, let me live this day as the gift it is, for You have truly blessed me to live it. And if I may suffer, I will carry with me the certainty that one day I will see You face to face, a day when all things will become clear and my pain will be made whole through the grace of Christ, my God. Blessed be you, oh Lord my God, and blessed be the day you have given me.
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy, above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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.
Shaking Things Up
Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, "shake well before using." That is what God has to do with some of His people. He has to shake them well before they are ever usable.
~ Vance Havner
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)
Faith, Hope, and Charity 
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Notes on the Scripture
Today begins Paul's great poetic passage on love; if you have ever been to a wedding, you have certainly heard it. An odd thing about the passage, though, is that it does not begin here. The preceding chapters dealt with boasting, stature in the church community, and other ways we deal with each other, and at the very end of Chapter 12 is a line that makes no sense: "And I will show you a still more excellent way."
The chapters of the Bible books are generally artificial, imposed by translators to break it up; and sometimes they are not placed properly. This passage is a continuation of the long discussion about people with different roles being like different parts of a human body, to refute the tendency to rank church members in status by their gifts, duties, or prominence. The long passage developing the idea that we are all members of the body of Christ is descriptive.
Chapter 13 then calls us to action. It teaches us how to reflect and live the truth established in the text immediately before it. Looking at Chapter 12, we can see that the references to "speaking in the tongues of angels", "understanding all knowledge", or "having all faith": these are the more exalted gifts that Paul has just described in the first part of the passage.
Paul's message on faith, hope, and love is a brilliant standalone passage on the importance of love. But it is even more brilliant when read in the correct context of the preceding chapter.