Daily Devotion for January 29, 2010
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
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.
Note on the Scripture
The Biggest Problem with Tiger Woods' Adultery
"Do not be deceived; God is not mocked." (Galatians 6:7) People kid themselves a lot about how intelligent they are and how insightful their opinions; they tell themselves lies, large and small, about what is going on inside their head and inside their soul; and if they happen to have a job in the broadcast media, this delusion is shared with thousands or millions of other people.
The biggest problem with Tiger Woods' adultery? People (and the media) are so concerned with it. And even worse, they feel compelled to state opinions. The National Hen Party has kicked into high gear. (If the NHP ever runs a candidate for office, duck and run.)
Today, more than ever, our minds are drowned in an unceasing, overpowering river of images and sounds. We have 100-plus television channels, movies on demand, Facebook, texting, and now, Twitter. But the quality of the information we get doesn't seem to have improved with the quantity; to the contrary. Legitimate newspapers and magazines are dying; the only magazines that seem to have increased are those that gossip about the tiniest personal details of "celebrities", often the most vain, shallow, self-indulgent and shortsighted people one could choose. The responsible and thoughtful press is actually shrinking.
As the example of the moment, I give you a great golf player. If you go to a dinner party or similar gathering anytime soon, the odds are high that you will have to listen to at least half an hour of minute facts, opinions, and judgments about Tiger Woods' sex life, marriage, and lot of tangentially related topics. Yet, either in conversation or in the media, the conversation is unlikely to be informed by anything deeper than how much money it might cost him.
It seems like the more information we get, the shallower it becomes. People see whatever is the shiniest and hear whatever jingles the loudest. But "do not be deceived" - God is not fooled. The problem with these broadcasts or communications is not that they are evil (although a well known Bible verse about "judging not" might pop into your mind). The biggest disservice to society from this phenomenon is that the discussions are so utterly tied to appearance and celebrity, the ultimate "matters of the flesh". 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.
The sheer volume of concern over the petty, the cult of celebrity, and gossip crowds out the profound, the important, the beautiful and, especially, the spiritual. It is hard to imagine someone taking months of time to reflect on the profound questions of life. Where are the Emerson and Thomas More and Thomas Aquinas of our generation? Are they Twittering about their breakfast and texting each other about what they are going to wear today? Passing judgment on the latest scrap of news about Tiger Woods? If -- just for example -- an Emerson did write a book of essays today, would anybody even notice? And if they did get published, would people find the paragraphs too long and the development of ideas too time-consuming to read?
Spending our lives amusing ourselves with petty matters is exactly what Paul meant by "sowing to your own flesh". There are (thankfully) millions of people too busy trying to do something good and meaningful to care what dress some actress wore to an event or who some athlete is dating this week. But the public dialogue seems ever more concerned with the shallowest and most earthly and meaningless occurrences and ideas. It is distressing to see so little concern with the life of the Spirit and the more important matter of "sowing to the Spirit", i.e. spending our time in activities that reflect the values given to us by Christ. We may deceive ourselves in this regard, but God is not deceived and His memory is perfect; we will reap as we sow.
So we must keep to the course, and we will have our reward. "Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially the family of faith."