Daily Devotion for August 29, 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.
The Appalachian accent and sound in this hymn are so strong it is hard to understand, so I hope you will read the inspiring words in the Lyrics, below.
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
Soon with the lord our wonderful savior
We'll be at home beyond the blue sky.
There we shall meet the dear ones awaiting
We'll understand it all by and by.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all humanity, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of people; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
For a throne is established by righteousness.
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (ESV)
Faith, Hope, and Charity 
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Notes on the Scripture
The staggering power of Paul's words — and the masterful translation made in the King James Bible (which is echoed here in the ESV with minimal modernization) — defeats attempts at commentary.
The King James translation of the passage was so inspired that I even hate to give another version; most attempts to modernize the passage substantially destroy it.
One phrase that unfortunately must be rewritten for modern readers is verse 12: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face." The primary understanding of "a glass" in 1611 would have been a mirror. While there were good mirrors available by this time (from Venice), they were expensive and still did not reflect light as well as they do today. So the experience of a viewer, especially indoors where mirrors were kept, would have been a darkening of the reflection.
In Paul's day, however, mirrors would have been more primitive, consisting of polished metal, and would have given a noticeably dark and obscured image.
But seeing through a piece of dark or irregular glass, which most untutored modern readers would get from King James, loses some of the meaning. It captures the idea that we see, not God, but a dark and distorted approximation. But it loses the idea that God sees us more clearly than we can see ourselves.
Plato, the great Greek philosopher who wondered if there might be only one supreme god, also wrote that we see, in life, only a reflection of something perfect. A famous passage from Plato's Republic reasoned that we see reality as men in a cave at night see shadows cast on the wall, and this is just what Paul means. We see evidence of God, and can glean much about Him, but our perception is as limited as our eyes and our minds. Only after our bodies die will we see him "face-to-face" and truly know Him.
Paul, of course, had experience with trying to see God as a human. When he was still Saul, he was struck blind by a light, that knocked him from his horse, and heard the voice of Jesus. Many have thought that what he experienced was a glimpse of the face of God as He is.