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Daily Devotion for February 24, 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 comes from "Songs of Praise", a weekly service formerly held in Alexandra Palace, London. To God Be the Glory is a traditional hymn. Sing along!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the lifegate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thru Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he hath done!
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to every believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done,
and great our rejoicing thru Jesus the Son;
but purer, and higher, and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, who makes us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ; Give me this day such blessings through my worship of you, that the days to come may be spent in your service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of humanity; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
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.
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
John 5:25-30 (ESV)
The Judgment of Christ
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Notes on the Scripture
If we ever have questions about the day of judgment, this passage puts them to rest. There are several lines of thought about judgment and what will happen to us when we die, and all of them have some basis in the Bible. The most straightforward is that we die and await in a state of death until Christ comes again, at which time the dead will be raised just as Christ was. All will be fulfilled, and the sinless (those who have accepted Christ's grace of forgiveness) will be passed through into heaven to dwell with God for eternity.
by William Blake
This is the Jewish view and that of many Christians. The Catholic Church has taken a somewhat intermediate position, positing a state of purgatory, where our souls dwell until they are shriven of sin and then accepted into heaven.
The most common view in Protestant churches (and the general, rather amorphous view of most agnostics and non-Biblical Christians) is that we are judged after we die. Those who have accepted Christ's grace are redeemed and are accepted into heaven, while the unredeemed are cast into hell, to suffer separation from God for eternity. There is some authority for this view, as well: Christ, on the cross, told the penitent being crucified with him, "today you will be with me in Paradise". (Luke 23:43)
Views about the actual experience of heaven and hell range even wider: from Dante's inferno on the one hand, where sinners suffer eternal bodily torture tailored to their most egregious sin, all the way to the most philosophical and abstract, almost Buddhist, concept of heaven as a union with God and hell simply the eternal separation from God, into nothingness.
But, like so many theological speculations, it makes little difference what we believe, since we don't know. What we do know is sufficient. Our belief in Christ and acceptance of the Holy Spirit will lead to forgiveness of our sins; whatever heaven is, we will know it for eternity.