Daily Devotion for October 24, 2012
Front view of the magnificent Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, 1432.
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.
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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,
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy, above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,
May God Almighty send me his light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may His mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
But the Lord tests the hearts.
I Am the Way
Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
Notes on the Scripture
There are many people in the world who, if they hold a preconception, will not abandon it no matter how much evidence they see to the contrary. A person who has a superstition about Friday the 13th could win the lottery and find out his cancer is cured on a Friday the 13th, and he would still be afraid of it.
Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the Bible. God led the Hebrews out of Egypt and fed them in the wilderness, all the while performing visible miracles right in front of them; yet, as soon as Moses went up the mountain, they built a golden calf. Here, the Apostle Philip, who has seen Christ perform miracle after miracle, wants Him to "show us the Father".
There may be people beyond salvation; who on earth knows why some people are called, and some die unrepentant. But it is not for lack of proof. There are people who could witness a true miracle and not believe (and there are some who believe, who will claim an ordinary happening is a miracle, as if they are desperate to reinforce their faith).
I do not see how people can doubt God's existence. Perhaps they are so accustomed to the phenomenal miracles of life that they become blind to them, like a rich child who never really questions why he has so much money and others don't. It is a hallmark of human pride, that we accept our gifts as if they are somehow our due.
But people can be called; they are not inescapably trapped into taking everything for granted. They can hear and understand. Philip, who like many people sought "just one more" sign from God, was convinced by Christ's words into accepting the miracles he had seen. It is so easy for us to fall into complacency; even if we are Christians, we can come to take our faith for granted and let it slide into rote habit, losing its meaning. Our faith is a living word, that needs renewal and revival as a plant needs to be watered.