Daily Devotion for July 4, 2013
Independence Day (US)
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.
In honor and memory of the great founding fathers of the United States, in hopes that we can be true to the values they espoused:
Prayer To Do God's Will Today
Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.
Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.
You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.
May I do thy will this day, in the name of Christ I pray.
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 27:15-16 (The Message)
A nagging spouse is like
the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet;
You can’t turn it off,
and you can’t get away from it.
Do Not Grow Weary
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Notes on the Scripture
Today, more than ever, our minds are flooded with an unceasing, overwhelming river of images and sounds. We have 100-plus television channels, movies on demand, Facebook, texting, Twitter . . . and who knows what, next? But the quality of the information we get doesn't seem to have improved with the quantity.
Legitimate newspapers and magazines are dying; the only magazines that seem to be thriving are those that gossip about the tiniest personal details of "celebrities", or aim at human vanity: what we wear, how we look. The responsible and thoughtful press seems to have actually shrunk even while the total information flow abounds.
It seems, in short, like the more information we get, the shallower it becomes. When a field becomes crowded, people see whatever is the shiniest and hear whatever jingles the loudest. But "do not be deceived" - God is not fooled. We wear our bodies loosely and shall be shed of them in short time; spending our brief moment of life contemplating the most petty matters possible can only damage the most important parts of our being.
We cannot let the sheer volume of concern over the petty, the cult of celebrity, narcissism, and gossip crowd out the profound, the important, the beautiful and, especially, the spiritual. But where are the Emerson, the Thomas More, the Thomas Aquinas of our generation? Are they Twittering about their breakfast and texting each other about what they are going to wear today? And if C.S. Lewis did write a book of essays today, would anybody even notice? Or would people find the paragraphs too long and the development of ideas too time-consuming to read?
Well, actually, if C.S. Lewis were writing today, there would be people reading him. He might be hidden from the public dialogue — he was actually a public figure in his day, and his masterwork “Mere Christianity” was actually the follow-up to a popular series of radio broadcasts.
We can no longer expect this to happen. The popular media have become noticeably hostile to Christianity specifically, and religion in general. When you do hear it discussed, it is usually notable for the abysmal lack of informed and educated opinion.
But Christianity has shrunken, not disappeared. There are millions of people thirsty to learn about God's word and to find out more about Christ. Never have Paul's words been so important to take to heart: “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up.”
All we can do is to remember: God is in control. Christ promised that we would be despised and that the weak would fall away, so: Do not be weak! Be filled with good cheer, for we know we are laying up our reward in heaven. "Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially the family of faith."