Daily Devotion for February 5, 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.
Heaven hear me now.
I'm lost without a cause
After giving it my all.
Winter storms have come
And darkened my sun.
After all that I've been through
Who on earth can I turn to?
I look to you. I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong.
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.
About to lose my breath,
There's no more fighting left,
Sinking to rise no more,
Searching for that open door.
And every road that I've taken
Lead to my regret.
And I don't know if I'm going to make it.
Nothing to do but lift my head.
My levees are broken,
My walls have come
Crumbling down on me.
When rain is falling.
Defeat is calling.
I need you to set me free.
Take me far away from the battle.
I need you to shine on me.
Music and lyrics by Robert S. Kelly
An Old American Prayer for the Work Day
Almighty God, thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done.
For Strength and Peace
O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.
Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
From crowding things of sense I flee, in Thee I hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast;
What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace.
[Let us close our eyes and think about how God gives us peace in true wisdom, when the “strife of tongues” from our “clamorous foes” —all the foolish things we hear every day from ungodly people — multiply our confusion and crowd our senses. ]
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
But I Don't Understand
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard
2 Timothy 3:12-16 (ESV)
How to Read the Bible 
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the servant of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Notes on the Scripture
There are three fundamental rules of reading the Bible, for Christians:
2. The Word of God is what is actually written in the Bible;
3. What is not written in the Bible is not the Word of God.
The first rule is the most basic. Anyone who does not believe it is not a Christian. Christianity is, in its philosophical basis, a discipline of obedience to God's word. Once a person decides that they will follow this part of the Bible but not that part, they have broken the discipline, and replaced the Word of God with words created in their own mind. They do not worship the God who said, “I am.” For the original and only source of our knowledge of God is the Bible; and if it is not inerrant, then any part might be erroneous. To breech the integrity of the Bible and accept less than its entirety is to worship a manmade god. It is a decision to worship what one sees in the mirror as a greater authority than the inspired Word.
To clarify terms, the word “inspired” is very narrow and specific in Christian dialogue. It means, actually, the exact same thing as “breathed by God” (compare “respiration”) and refers to men who wrote a book under God's direct hand. “Breathed” was a Hebrew idiom for “spoken”, the idea being that the very breath responsible for a spoken word was from the “lungs” of God — only God uses spirit, not lungs, to speak. Do not confuse it with the common use of “inspired”, which has broadened over the years to mean any brilliant and intuitive action.
(Note: Theologians define four levels for the knowledge of God: “Revelation”, meaning words God spoke in his own voice, such as the ten commandments; “Inspired,” which means God directed a human hand to write or say something; “Illuminated,” which means that the Holy Spirit has given a reader/writer understanding of something that his mind alone could not grasp; and “Interpretation,” which is using one's mind to explain the meaning of the Bible.)
The quote from 2 Timothy is critical to understanding Christianity, for it self-validates the Bible. One may disagree with it (and many people do), but then the Bible becomes just another book. Paul tells us, though, that we must take it all or take none of it. For it is only by the Bible that we know anything of Christ; and if the Bible is not inspired, we lose Christ.
The doctrine of Biblical inspiration is separate from arguments over literalism; inspiration tells us that the Bible is truth, from start to end. But the Bible is a book of supernatural truth, not scientific or historical truth. One might believe, for example, that the length of the “day” in which God created various parts of the universe means something different than the 24-hour period of the earth's current rotation, without affecting the truth of Genesis 1. There are myriad and complex doctrines, all with five-dollar words attached, about how one might interpret the Bible; but getting bogged down in them is a distraction from our life in Christ.
I had intended to talk about Rule 3, actually, but we are out of room and have not even finished with Rule 1. We will continue this on our next free dayDaily Prayer takes a break from studying a specific book — currently Matthew — on Wednesday and Sunday., Sunday.
Well, there is room for one last verse. Look at this lovely quote, written by Peter: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. ” (1 Peter 1:23-25)