Daily Devotion for November 13, 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.
Ezekiel 37 gave rise to this famous anatomy lesson, performed here by the Cathedral Quartet.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Thanks to God for Coming to Us
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. I bless and thank you for finding me, Lord; may I never more take a breath without a heart filled with your Spirit .
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Diving Through the Waves
"The wave that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surfer the joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things — tribulation, distress, persecution — produce in us a super-joy; they are not things to fight.
We are more than conquerors; we are super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us. The saint knows the joy of the Lord not in spite of tribulation, but because of it."
~ Oswald Chambers
Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)
Being a Christian Today
Recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting.
Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.
Notes on the Scripture
This passage from Hebrews relates well to the verses from Matthew we have read, particularly when Jesus warns the apostles of the dire possibilities that await them in Chapter 10. Paul speaks to the same persecution but after the fact, rather than as a warning or preparation, as Jesus did in Matthew 10.
Paul is also a bit more upbeat, for he is not addressing the apostles, but a large group of Christians, many of whom had not seen Christ in the flesh. They need encouragement — and so do we! But we really face a different set of issues than the converts in the decades after Christ ascended. Paul is speaking to people who have had their possessions taken away, people who have been to prison, people who have family members in prison.
Few people in the West, today, face prison or death simply for espousing their beliefs. But we must not shrink at the prospect that we might suffer. Paul very bluntly tells us that “persecution is inevitable for those who are determined to live really Christian lives.” (2 Tim 3:12, J.B. Phillips Translation) Our suffering may be only that we must endure the pride and speech of fools and sinners, but we will suffer.
This, we do share with the early Christians. We must build our faith to fully sustain us through whatever trial is sent to us, and we must wait in faith for the coming of Christ. We know that the joy of strong faith can endure any hardship, for we have seen it. James tells us, “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.” (James 1:2-4)
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. ” (Habakkuk 2:3)
Finally, let us always remember Paul's word in 2 Corinthians. Here, he capsulizes the Christian attitude:
And at least we are not often fed to lions today!