Daily Devotion for January 7, 2014
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.
One of the most stirring hymns of all time.
Ancient Prayer - For Support of the Holy Spirit
O Educator, be gracious to thy children, O Educator, Father, Guide of Israel, Son and Father, both one, Lord. Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh. Do thou thyself bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and supported by the Holy Spirit, the unutterable Wisdom, by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher with the Holy Spirit.
Thanks for God’s Word
I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things which were hidden from the wise and prudent, and which many prophets and kings desired to see and could not, are revealed unto us babes in your written Word. I thank you that I have the Scriptures to search, and that they testify of Christ, for in them I can find eternal life.
I think you, Father, for the preservation of your teachings through time, and despite the constant efforts of men to destroy or change them, that through them I might find patience, and hope, and truth, and life. And having learned so much, I think you that I can hear with my ears your wonderful works, the testimony of the earth and the spirit, like a light shining in darkness. In Christ’s name, I pray and render you thanks,
To See Christ
Oh holy Christ, teach me to recognize your face in the people you put into my life today.
Doxology (Traditional Anglican)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.
~ Francis Chan
Matthew 14:13-21 (ESV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing.
Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Notes on the Scripture
When we interrupted our study of Matthew (on December 7) for Christmas, John the Baptist had just been beheaded — this is what Jesus had “heard” in the first sentence, that motivates him to go off alone. He is in the heart of his ministry, wandering in Galilee, teaching, healing, and facing growing opposition from the Jewish religious/political establishment, especially the Pharisees.
As He resumes teaching, we encounter the only major miracle of Christ's ministryThat is, prior to the Resurrection. present in all four gospels. He feeds a great multitude with five loaves and two fish, and the leftover crumbs fill 12 baskets.
We might correctly call the creation itself (and agriculture) a miracle, but most often the term is applied when God directly interferes with the laws of nature to help a person with no other recourse. God generally performs miracles only where they are necessary.
An Old Joke: A devout man was caught in Hurricane Katrina, and as the waters rose about his house, he fell to his knees to pray for deliverance. A neighbor in a canoe knocked on his window, but the man declined to get in, for he was certain God would save him. As the waters continued to rise, he was forced onto his rooftop. A National Guard helicopter found him and dropped a ladder, but again, he refused, so great was his faith in the Lord. Finally, he drowned.
When he got to heaven, he cried out to God, “Why, why did you not save my life? Was it simply my time to leave the earth?”
“What are you talking about?” God replied. “I sent a canoe and a helicopter.”
This is the folly of Christian Science and many other extremist sects. God has already provided for us in the creation, by giving us brains and materials. We can never expect him to intervene directly, via a miracle, when He has already given us what we need to solve the problem.
The parallel between this miracle and the miracle of Yahweh feeding the Hebrews with manna is hard to miss. In both cases, the people had gathered at the Lord's command or request, and in both cases, they had no way to feed themselves. Yet there is a critical difference: Manna, remember, would not keep; it could not be stored. (Exo. 16:16-21) In today's Scripture, however, there are 12 baskets of scraps left over, to provide for the future.
One might interpret from this a relation to the 12 apostles; for Christ gave them powers to heal the sick and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:5-8) God's covenant with the Hebrews was direct and limited; the old covenant, like manna, would not multiply. God did not give the Hebrews authority to spread the covenant as his agents.
But the new covenant will be one that spreads from person to person, until it is made available throughout the earth. Christ's salvation will become available not just to those who are baptized by Christ, but will multiply beyond the immediate need. There will be enough of the bread of salvation to feed every person on earth, extending to all generations.