Daily Devotion for January 8, 2010
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 of Praise (from Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy Name;
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And forget not all His benefits;
Who forgives all your iniquities
And heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion;
Who satisfies your desire with good things
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
The Armor of God
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Notes on the Scripture
This wonderful passage has such a flavor of the Puritan preacher; you can almost hear Cotton Mather or Jonathan Edwards declaiming it, loud enough to wake up the back row, with real conviction that they were destined for a flaming hell if they didn't "put on the breastplate of righteousness" that very afternoon.
The ideas of a real hell and fighting forces of evil with God's power is not so popular today. Mainstream theologians and ministers are not so dramatic, but in tempering their message to the sensibilities of the modern congregation, they have lost some truth. The power of evil is great; and it takes the strength of God to overcome it.
But even fighting the small struggles in ourselves, we are wise to put on God's armor in advance. If we encounter temptation unprepared, we will likely give into it. We must read, and pray, and think about our beliefs every day. In the morning we must fasten the belt of truth around our waist, no less than we fasten a leather belt around our pants. The allure of adultery, the automatic flash of anger when someone offends us, the moment when it is easier to ignore someone who needs a kind word — only if we have prepared ourselves can we fight the little voices of evil when the time for action arrives.