Daily Devotion for September 12, 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.
A setting of today's Scripture from Handel's Messiah.
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.
How to Hear God
God never ceases to speak to us, but the noise of the world without and the tumult of our passions within bewilder us and prevent us from listening to him.
~ Francois Fenelon
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (ESV)
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14)
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Notes on the Scripture
So much of Paul's writing is difficult to follow, and his style so often mundane and prosaic, that it is startling when he suddenly shifts gears and, in a fit of inspiration, explodes into world-class poetic essay. This passage caps the long section on what form we might take after death, and the peoples' fear of change. Here he gives us, not consolation, but rather a startling leap. Do not be concerned with the death and decay of your body, he might have said, because your body cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
Look at the benefit instead of dwelling in your insecurities. The might and power of God are going to transform you into something incorruptible, someone who will be able to inherit His Kingdom for eternity.
"The sting of death is sin," he reminds us. Our bodies decay and, ultimately, return to the dust from which they sprang. No longer the house for our soul, they are not needed. They are an old crib that has been outgrown, a skin that a snake has shed or a cocoon from which a butterfly has emerged. The discarding of an unneeded old husk is not a cause for mourning or fear, for the occasion is not an end, but a moment of emergence.
Our fear is not this death of the body, but sin, which will end the lives of our souls. By the merits of Christ, we assure that we will rise untarnished into a form that is incorruptible, beyond the reach of disease or Satan himself.