Daily Devotion for September 15, 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.
If you dislike bagpipes — they only last a minute. This is worth waiting them out.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T'was Grace that taught
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within in the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
then when we've first begun.
Lyrics by John Newton (1773)
Music origin unk.
Prayer for the Morning
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
How can a man say he believes in Christ if he doesn't do what Christ commanded him to do?
~ St. Cyprian of Carthage
1 Corinthian 16:15-24
Now I urge you, brothers — you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints — be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.
The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
And so ends the tumultuous, seminal, and frequently criticized first epistle to the church at Corinth. This was thought to be, after Romans, the most important of the epistles and it was thus placed out of chronological order.
The greatest difficulty in 1 Corinthians is not understanding it, but in trying to practice what it says, for its primary aim is to criticize and ameliorate a condition so inherent in human institutions that it is nearly impossible for us to follow: The tendency to break apart into sects which agree with our personal way of thinking.
In a sense, Paul failed in his attempt, because the history of Christ's church has been one of internecine strife, mutual hostility, and even hatred and bloodshed. Possibly the bloodiest war ever fought in Europe was the Thirty Years' War in Germany (1618-1648), when Protestant and Catholic factions laid much of the land to utter waste and decimated the population. Famine and disease rode their pale horses for decades, and almost the entirety of Western Europe became involved.
In another sense, Paul did succeed, for the church of Corinth was reconciled and became one of the larger and more influential churches of the time. Much of the credit must go, not only to Paul's letter, but also to the actions of the "leaders" of the factions. We saw in several places that Paul and Apollos simply refused to allow people to follow them, insisting that all church members follow Christ and Christ only. We can only suppose that the third faction involved, followers of Peter, met with a similar reaction from Peter himself — although, ultimately, this would represent the first great split in the Christian world, as the Orthodox and Catholic churches eventually ruptured, largely due to politics.
But even we who still disagree over doctrinal matters can take to heart Paul's overarching message and the ultimate expression of it in the last words of the epistle: "Greet one another with a holy kiss." No matter how much our sinful pride divides us, with all of us thinking our weak intellects and self serving rationalizations represent truth, we must always come back to the most basic lessons of Chapter 13: First, now we see dimly, but ultimately we will see God's truth face to face; and second, that we must find faith, hope and love in our lives through Christ, and of these, love is foremost.