Daily Devotion for February 9, 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.
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this day,
That sees December turned to May.
Why does the chilling winter's morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like a meadow newly-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden? Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To heaven, and the under-earth.
We see him come, and know him ours,
Who, with his sunshine and his showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome him. The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the heart.
Which we will give him; and bequeath
This holly, and this ivy wreath,
To do him honour, who's our King,
And Lord of all this revelling.
What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Music by John Rutter
Lyrics by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer to Walk with Christ This Week
Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.
Please help me today, and throughout the coming week, to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Let your Holy Spirit nudge me and remind me throughout every day. I know that as I apply what your word says I will find freedom. Please show me what I need to focus on right where I walk today, Father. Help me to be intent on practicing what you reveal to me. I know there is blessing in doing things your way. I give you my will today and this week, to want to do what you show me. In the name of Jesus,
For the Forgiveness of Sins
My Jesus, I place all my sins before you. In my estimation they do not deserve pardon, But I ask you to close your eyes to my want of merit, and open them to your infinite merit. Since you willed to die for my sins, grant me forgiveness for all of them. Thus, I may no longer feel the burden of my sins, a burden that oppresses me beyond measure.
Assist me, dear Jesus, for I desire to become good no matter what the cost. Take away, destroy, and utterly root out whatever you find in me that is contrary to your holy will. At the same time, dear Jesus, illumine me so that I may walk in your holy light.
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (ESV)
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV)
How to Read the Bible 
“[Know] this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Notes on the Scripture
On Wednesday, we examined the three most basic principles of Biblical hermeneutics, the five-dollar word for “how to read and interpret the Bible correctly.” We got through Rules 1 and 2 when we ran out of room, so we will look at Rule 3 today. Here are the principles:
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.
As a reminder, there are four categories of statements or text that describe how reliably they transmit a truth of God. In descending order of reliability, they are:
- “Revealed” - A statement made by God himself. We read a revealed truth in Matthew 3:17, “behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”
- “Inspired” - In theology, this word is very different from our everyday definition. It describes words written by human hand that come directly from God. In Protestant theology, it is generally applied only to the Bible.
- “Illuminated“Illuminated” also describes an elaborately illustrated Bible or other holy book. The two meanings are completely different.” describes a writing, or more usually reading, where we are assisted by the Holy Spirit in our understanding. It is impossible to understand the Bible (or Christ) without illumination. It is not often applied to secondary criticism or exegesis, since a claim of illumination in a text can so easily be phony.
- “Interpretation” - This is the term properly applied to Biblical criticism, teaching, sermons, etc. The Notes you are reading right now are interpretation. They are not the Word of God, but the thoughts of a human being attempting to understand the Word of God.
Many preachers and teachers do not understand the difference; so we must be able to differentiate for ourselves. The simple key to reading religious literature or listening to lectures and sermons is to remember Rule 3: What is not written in the Bible is not the Word of God. A logical conclusion based on Scripture may be helpful, but it is human and therefore fallible, not divine and infallible.
Here is an example. In fact, I will give you a chance to see if you can make the distinction yourself, if you want to, before I tell you my thoughts. Read John 8:1-11 (which is a great Bible story and worth a read just for its own sake). When you have finished reading it, here are two questions for you. First, did Jesus forgive the woman for her sin? Second, did the woman repent? I'll put in a few lines of “spoiler space” for anyone who wants to think about it before reading further.
Did Christ forgive the woman? The Bible does not say He forgave her; it says He did not condemn her. Does your mind want to infer that He forgave her? Drawing an inference is a natural logical process. But: it is critical (and difficult) to learn to recognize that the inference comes from your mind, not the Bible. Did the woman repent? The Bible does not say or indicate she repented. This would be a secondary inference, as its basis relies on the inference that Christ forgave her.
Understanding the Bible is sometimes difficult, but it becomes a lot easier once you are able to make a clear distinction between interpretation and the inspired Word of God.