Daily Devotion for May 8, 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.
This great old hymn (1895) is given a good, somewhat updated sound by the Collingsworth Family.
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.
By God's Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I'd spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
Now I've given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!
Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!
Music and words by William Newell
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Help with the Burdens of Life
Grant me, I pray, your divine helping grace; endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering and to you, my only hope and refuge, I flee for relief and comfort; trusting your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, when you know it is for the best, you will deliver me from my troubles, and turn my distress into comfort, and I will rejoice in your mercy, and exalt and praise your Holy Name, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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.
Proverbs 22:10 (The Message)
Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
you need a break from bickering and griping!
Do not remember our past iniquities; help us quickly with your tender mercies, for we have been brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name. Deliver us and purge away our sins, for the sake of your name.
Why should the heathen be able to say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight, by revenging the blood your servants have shed.
Let the groans of the prisoner come before you; preserve those that are appointed to die, in keeping with your great power;
And return to the hearts of our neighbours seven times their scorn, when they turn it against you, O Lord.
We, your people and the sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks forever; we will show forth your praise to all generations.
Notes on the Scripture
Three of the six verses (8, 11, 13) are very much in keeping with the message of Christ and are a beautiful prayer to God, asking for forgiveness. The phrase 'tender mercies' was used as the title for a good movie, 'Tender Mercies', starring Robert Duvall. (In fact, the movie garnered two Academy Awards, Best Actor for Duvall and Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for several more, including Best Picture.) It concerns a washed-up country singer with a checkered alcohol-soaked history, estranged from his daughter and ex-wife; he meets a widow who runs a humble motel in rural Texas, very much "wind-swept plains" in the middle of nowhere, and finds redemption.
His past iniquities are forgotten and he is able to forgive himself for his past mistakes; he finds salvation and peace, but in a poor ramshackle motel on the edge of nowhere through his love for a widow and her young son, instead of on a glittering stage in Nashville or Houston.
The other verses are peculiarly Hebrew. The Israelites are having problems losing battles to heathens, and they ask God to help them for the sake of His name. This might sound arrogant to the modern ear, but it reflects the way in which God had set up His first covenant with the Hebrews. Their blessed status in God's eye was personal and tribal. They identify themselves so closely with God that they believe, unabashedly, that their success in battle will make God look better.
It was correct for the Hebrews to believe this, because it was God's will for them to have earthly successes as a sign of His covenant with them. The Old Testament is a constant cycle of the Jews forgetting or ignoring their religious duties and beliefs, God punishing them by invasion or famine or captivity, then a new prophet appearing who leads them back to spiritual correctness, and God then rewarding them with sheep, land, and political supremacy.
Although a number of prophets and several other prominent Old Testament figures led ascetic lives, the Christian values of humility, poverty, etc., were not nearly so prominent in the Hebrew theology of the day. Asceticism was practiced more as self-punishment, often as a proxy for the entire nation, than as a theological rejection of earthly wealth.
These verses also reflect the "eye for an eye" philosophy of righteous vengence against heathens. Unlike the message of Christ, God's first covenant with the Hebrews was often vindictive. Remember, this was written in the period before God had reached out to the Gentiles, through Christ.