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Daily Devotion for September 30, 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.
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
Come, little child, and together we'll learn
Of his commandments, that we may return
Home to his presence, to live in his sight —
Always, always to walk in the light.
Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
Gladly, gladly we'll walk in the light.
Music and Lyrics by Clara W. McMaster
Song of Praise (based on Psalm 8)
O Lord my God, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, who am I that you are mindful of me, who are any of us that you should guide and protect us?
Yet you have made us in your image, a little lower than the angels, and crowned us with glory and honor we do not deserve. You have given us dominion over the works of your hands and put the earth beneath our feet; you have given us dominion over the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea. O Lord my God, I praise you for your gifts to me. How majestic is your name in all the earth!
For a Positive Attitude Today
Lord, as I offer you all that is ordinary and everyday in my life, I ask you to give me the power of your Spirit that I may transform each day by living with a positive attitude, looking for the best in people and situations. Inspire me to live in your presence every day so that I may have a full share of the hope only your Spirit can bring; lead me do the ordinary things of life in an extraordinary way, to your glory.
To Treat Others as I Would Be Treated
Lord, while I pray for peace and goodwill in our world, I ask you to help me to change my own attitude for the better, so that peace and goodwill may start with the way I behave towards those who have hurt me. Inspire me to be as generous to others as I would like them to be with me.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
Count Your Blessings
Count your blessings, not your crosses; count your gains instead of losses.
Count your joys instead of woes; count your friends instead of foes.
Count your smiles instead of tears; count your courage, not your fears.
Count full years instead lean; Count kind deeds instead of mean.
Count your health instead of wealth; Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 8:28-34 (ESV)
Jesus Heals Two Men with Demons
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.”
So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Notes on the Scripture
Mark's account of this incident is more detailed and worth reading at this point: (Mark 5:1-20)
Christian attitudes about demons cover a wide range. A lot of us believe in them literally and, at the opposite extreme, a lot of us believe that demons do not exist as actual beings, but was an ancient method used to describe mental illness. Some believe that demons did exist but were abolished by the crucifixion, or at least, lost their power over Christians. By the same light, some theologians see Satan not as a being, but as a spiritual force, a personificationPersonification: The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form. rather than a person.
Our beliefs in this regard have exactly zero significance to our salvation. We are justified by our faith in Christ and saved by our rebirth in Him. (In this regard, see, for example, 1 Corinthians 9.)
C. S. Lewis took a sensible middle ground in this regard, as in this quote from The Screwtape Letters: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” The problem with dwelling on demonology is that, almost always, it leads to superstition and ultimately fosters evil. One need but say the words “witch hunt” to understand how badly an obssession with demons can damage Christianity.
At any rate, Christ treats demons as persons, and converses with them as if they are separate beings rather than the product of a schizophrenic's diseased mind; and so shall we.
One very odd characteristic of New Testament demons, such as those here (collectively named “Legion” in Mark), is how readily they recognize Christ to be the Son of God. Even stranger, they recognize that there will come a time in the future (the crucifixion) when they are to be defeated; Legion complain that Christ has come to torment them “before the time.”
The demons are actually more respectful of Christ than the townspeople. Even though Christ heals the afflicted men and restores them to their right mind (Mark 5:15), thereby removing the terrorizing threat they had posed to local inhabitants, all the townspeople care about is that their pigs have died! So they invite Jesus to please go somewhere else.
The great lesson here is that we do not need to fear demons or evil spirits. They have no power over Christians. E.g. Luke 10:17-20. Satan can only tempt; he cannot harm us directly, for the Holy Spirit protects us.