Daily Devotion for December 28, 2009
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.
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 Deliverance from Fear
O Lord, we beseech thee to deliver us from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by thy grace to love and fear thee only, fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in thee; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Prayer to Know Christ
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and for your resurrection to prove the truth of your promises. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Let me remember that I was baptized in the Spirit, which gave me a second birth in life; just as I became my parents' child when I was born, I became your child when I was baptized. Let me remember that your Spirit is now with me, and pray in the knowledge that the Spirit is real and has connected me to you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
John 3:1-8, 16-21
Being Born Again
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus one night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
Jesus answered, "Truly, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother's womb a second time and be born, can he?"
To which Jesus answered, "Truly, I tell you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said 'You must be born again.'
The wind blows where it wishes. You hear it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going; so it is with a person who is born of the Spirit."
Thoughts on the Scripture
The concept of being "born again", as a tenet of Christian faith, is a touchy subject. The media has trained much of the population to equate it with a very specific faction of Christianity, zealous and outspoken, that not everyone finds appealing. Although it attracts some people, it repels others and actually discourages them from identifying themselves as Christians in public. Remember, however you may feel about it, that "God has many mansions".
When you look at this metaphor at its source — the passage written above — you realize how much it informs the basic theology of all Christians. When we are baptized, the basic act of becoming Christian, we make a beginning. Our life is changed. We take a second step in becoming fully alive (although in a different way than when we are physically born). God's Holy Spirit comes to us and becomes available to us. It is the one aspect of God who is in direct contact with us during our physical lives, who lives with us in our everyday world, something theologians call the "immanence" of God. Like the wind, we can't see it and don't know exactly where it comes from, but if we pay attention we can see its effects in our lives. However we may feel about the term "born again Christian", so often used as a pejorative in the secular and anti-Christian segments of society, it is important to understand the underlying meaning of Christ's metaphor. Our baptism, with water symbolizing the Holy Spirit, creates a new life within us, a life that is lived in the invisible world of Christ and is ultimately more important then the life we live in the world of flesh.