Daily Devotion for September 1, 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 Church" this Sunday is a Southern gospel service, but it is sort of a "show" church, since the entire congregation is — well, let's just say that the person sitting next to you isn't singing off-key.
By helping those who are in need;
My life on earth is but a span,
And so I’ll do the best I can.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day,
My light must shine along the way;
I’ll sing His praise while ages roll,
And strive to help some troubled soul.
The only life that will endure,
Is one that’s kind and good and pure;
And so for God I’ll take my stand,
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand.
I’ll help someone in time of need,
And journey on with rapid speed;
I’ll help the sick and poor and weak,
And words of kindness to them speak.
While going down life’s weary road,
I’ll try to lift some trav’ler’s load;
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
Make flowers bloom along the way.
Music and lyrics by William M. Golden, 1918
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 of Abandonment
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all Your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence,
For you are my Father.
Prayer of Penitence
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
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.
Psalm 9:7-10 (ESV)
But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
The Diversity of Gifts
Each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said,
he gave gifts to his people."
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
The line, "When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive", is a little difficult to understand. Picture a playground bully bossing around smaller children. Jesus is bigger than the bully, and tells the children that they can choose to be with Him instead of the bully. Then he takes the bully by the shoulder and tells him, "The ones who are with me -- Leave them alone". Evil and death have ensnared us and hold us in captivity, but Christ is more powerful. He has captured and disempowered evil and death; he defeated death through His resurrection.
To those who choose Him, He has given gifts so that they might help the group whom he has saved from captivity. We know how different people are. Some people are good at speaking and persuading others, while some are shy or embarrassed when they speak. Some of us can sing, while some of us are tone deaf. Some of us have the gift of humility and can find joy in sweeping a floor in Christ's service.
The point is, you DO have a gift to use in the service of Christ. We cannot bemoan the gifts that we lack. Nobody is perfect. We must find what gifts we do have and rejoice in them, being convinced that the only important thing in our work for Christ is the glory of God, not how much we impress others or how rare our gift may be.