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Daily Devotion for September 4, 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.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.
That, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
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.
Whatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately upon them.
~ John Flavel
1 Corinthians 14:26-33 (ESV)
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
Notes on the Scripture
Meetings of the early church in Corinth must have been a madhouse. At least several people would talk at the same time, some of them giving personal revelations, some of them giving prophesy or teachings, while some would speak in tongues and, apparently, more than one at a time, with no attempt to "translate". Today's passage has little to do with theology. Someone with authority simply needed to set down some guidelines of basic group meeting protocol.
What has changed, and possibly for the worse, is that in these early Christian meetings, the congregation did not sit passively, without any active participation except to sing an occasional hymn (in most cases, barely audibly) and to pray en masse following a printed text. It is easy to see that individual action by personal initiative would be unworkable in a large congregation. But unless we have a smaller "Sunday School" class, or a prayer group, or something of that nature, we can go our entire lives without ever witnessing to our faith in public.
This is clearly a mistake. Faith in Christ cannot be delegated to a professional worshiper, not completely. If we do not speak our hearts and our faith in public, as an individual, we lose much. There is nothing that reinforces our faith so powerfully as giving witness, nothing that will validate our beliefs and give us a deep feeling of community. We hide our thoughts from the entire world. And we never feel the human support of someone saying "Amen" to our testimony.
This is an odd sentiment to express on an internet devotional site where, by the very nature of the medium, we cannot interact with each other face-to-face. We are working on a message board feature, where registered members will be able to post and communicate. But at least, any of us who want to make personal testimony before others will be able to do it.