Daily Devotion for September 7, 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.
Alan Jackson’s country style fits this old folk hymn perfectly. It bespeaks the simple, hardy faith of the hardscrabble rural churches that sustained our forebears.
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.
Music and Lyrics by George Bennard, 1910
Prayer to Find God in Nature
Morning and evening, Lord, I beseech Thee, suffer my cry from this wood to reach Thee; these are Thy presents, Thy heart I find in the dark forest in sleet and wind.
As on the sea Thou sailest before, a cloud, that our ship might see this shore, so now Thou walkest, these trees Thy feet, and in this brook Thy heart doth beat.
Lord, I am fearless, Thy mercy shown, for where Thou art there is nought unknown; what are these seemings save Thine own?
O grant Thy servant his grace of days, whose hours shall all be filled with praise: here Thy new works must numb’red be and fair names fitted to beast and tree.
All to be learned, all to be loved, thus ever fresh Thy kingdom proved.
(based on The Kid by Conrad Aiken)
Teach me Your Way
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; Unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forever more. Great is your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of hell. All praise be to You, Oh God my Redeemer, today and forever.
I dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.
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.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
~ Corrie Ten Boom
Matthew 6:25-33 (ESV)
Sermon on the Mount - Worry - The Lilies of the Field
(You cannot serve God and mammon.) Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single foot to his height?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Notes on the Scripture
The passage has two primary themes. First, stop worrying so much. Second, stop paying so much attention to lifestyle: How much money we make, what we wear, what we eat, what kind of car we drive, where we vacation.
As to the first theme, Christ gives us (at least) seven reasons how and why we should not worry:
- God gave us life. We can, therefore, trust Him to give us what we need to keep living. Of course, he also gave us brains as part of what we need to live: this isn't an argument for not visiting the doctor. It is an argument not to fret. God will provide for us.
- Wild birds get along just fine with practically no brain at all. God loves us even more than the birds, and He has given us intelligence; but He still feeds us, ultimately.
- Worry is, in any event, useless. If you lose sleep because you think you are too short, your worry will have one and only one result: you won't get enough sleep.
- If you worry about how you look, remember that the most beautiful things die quickly. Beauty will disappear. If we become attached to it out of vanity, we will become obsessed with something we are destined to lose, rather than spending our time building our treasure in heaven, which will last forever.
- For “Gentile”, read “pagan”. The false gods of the Gentiles were capricious and spiteful; the true God is eternal and loving. Once we learn about the actual living God, we should not be sucked into the follies of non-believers. The pagans of the 21st century will tell us we need a face lift and a $1000 wristwatch; but emulating them, allowing them to influence us, causes only anxiety about things that are ultimately illusory.
- To defeat anxiety, concentrate on doing God's will. Love and service will drive every foolish anxiety right out of our mind. Worry is banished when God becomes the dominating force in our live.
- Live one day at a time. We may plan for the future, but the future is guaranteed to bring surprises. We need the energy we might waste on worrying to meet the challenges of the present. And when tomorrow comes, we will do the same thing: Confidant that we will not waste our time on needless anxiety, we can be assured that we will have the energy to cope with the days to come. Problems will arise, and God will give us what we need to solve them.
Monday we will tackle the second theme, lifestyle. (One might say, the trouble of the first theme is sufficient for the day.)