Daily Devotion for February 3, 2013
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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week takes us to a Catholic first communion service in the 1960s. The music is a setting of Psalm 96 by Arvo Part.
Prayer for Purity of Worship
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer of Thanks
Heavenly Father, I thank you for my life and everything you have bestowed upon me and upon all people, this day and every day. I thank you for the good and bad, the understanding of forgiveness, and your holy power, without which we would have nothing. I thank you this day for all your blessings, your gifts, your never ending love for us. Although we all are sinners, I ask you to forgive me every day for what I might have done wrong, that I might not have noticed. Even though we all come short of the glory of God, I thank you for the sacrifice of your only son Jesus Christ for all our sins. You and only you know us Father and you know if our hearts are true. So once again, I thank you with all my heart and soul. In the name of Christ I pray,
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who preserves Israel
slumbers not, nor sleeps.
2 Peter 1:13-21 (ESV)
Interpretation of Scripture
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Notes on the Scripture
Interpretation of the Bible is sometimes excruciatingly difficult. First, times do change and some customs must affect the meaning of Scripture. Even the most ardent fundamentalist does not consider it obligatory to wear sandals and few if any go from door to door, asking that the inhabitants give them a room for the night.
Secondly, we do not always know the exact meanings of the original words; most of Christ's words have been translated several times, and even the ancient Greek or Hebrew translation is sometimes a bit obscure.
But most important, humans are fallible. We cannot see the unvarnished truth. It is not a capability God has given to us. Everything we think, everything we know, is colored by our own emotions and personality and culture.
So what do we make of Peter's instruction that "no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation"? Well, we must try. We must read the Bible and try to set aside our own preconceptions of right and wrong. Almost everyone seeks to read the Bible to find support for their beliefs, at least to some degree; it is human nature. But it is the worst kind of sinful pride to do it. The Bible must be read with an absolutely open mind, the mind of one who seeks truth rather than the mind of one who thinks he knows the truth and seeks an authority so that he can convince others of his correctness.