Daily Devotion for August 31, 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 old slave spiritual, My God is a Rock in a Weary Land, takes its first line from Isaiah 32:2.
My God is a rock in a weary land, weary land, weary land
My God is a rock in a weary land
A shelter in the the time of the storm.
Stop and let me tell you about chapter one
When the lord God's work had just begun
Stop and let me tell you about chapter two
When the lord God preached that Bible through
Stop and let me tell you about chapter three
When the lord God died up on Calvary.
Now stop and let me tell you about chapter four
When the lord God visits among the poor
Stop and let me tell you about chapter five
When the lord God brought all the dead alive
Stop and let me tell you about chapter six
When he went to Jerusalem and healed the sick.
Stop and let me tell you about chapter seven
When he died and he risen and he went to heaven
Stop and let me tell you about chapter eight
When the lord God was standin’ at the golden gate
Stop and let me tell you about chapter nine
When the lord God turned all the water to wine.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
1 Corinthian 13 (ESV)
Faith, Hope, and Charity [summary]
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Notes on the Scripture
Taken as a whole, Paul's great essay on Christian love — agape, translated "charity" in the King James Bible — gives us an anchor, a point by which we can orient our priorities, thoughts, prayers, and actions. In fact it gives us three such anchors, faith and hope being the other two, but tells us to turn first to the concept of love when we examine our past actions or plan those to come.
Faith is not subordinate to love, for it is through faith that we are saved. Paul himself says this: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)
The third cardinal attribute of Christianity is hope. The concept of hope overlaps with the concept of faith, the difference being that our faith involves our conviction that God exists and has given us His holy word in the form of the Bible, whereas our hope involves our relationship with Christ. Hope is not to be confused with "wish", for we hope in certainty. The first definition in Merriam Webster is "to desire with expectation of obtainment".
Hope is an enormously important — a critical and necessary component of Christian life. If you are not convinced that you will be given eternal life, through Christ, or that such life will not be paradise, it is a good point for meditation and prayer. Every person, being imperfect, will hold some degree of doubt. We cannot help it; we were born into sin. But we must let ourselves hope, if we have faith in Christ's promises, for life after death does indeed exist and will be ours, by virtue of our faith.
Of the three, though, love is the greatest, for it is our expression of Christ into the world while we still live in it. We burst through the wall of selfishness and show Christ's power when we love. Our faith and hope are our means of salvation; but our love is our means of helping others to find salvation. To love is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Himself.