Daily Devotion for February 16, 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.
This is not a church, but Royal Albert Hall. The Festival of Massed Choirs is primarily a Welsh festival but there are numerous choirs from elsewhere.
1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Music “Blaenwern”, William P. Rowlands, 1905
Lyrics by Charles Wesley, 1747
For a Heart Open to God's Word
God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.
Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always,
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all gifts, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.
All this I ask in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom I have all faith,
[Let us close our eyes for a minute and meditate on how we might not repeat the sins of the past week.]
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 13:20 (The Message)
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.
Romans 10:18-21 (ESV)
The Deafness of Israel
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
Notes on the Scripture
We have all known experts to be wrong, unable to see the obvious because of their preconceptions, or perhaps some rigid pride that tells them they can't be wrong. French generals at the beginning of World War 2 were positive that tanks could not get through the Ardennes Forest, and they lost their country because of it.
The experts about God in 30 A.D. were the Jews, who had been carrying the torch of monotheism — with the sanction of God Himself — for thousands of years. But they became so ingrained in their thinking and so convinced of their inherent righteousness that they became deaf and blind to anything they had not heard before. Many of them couldn't grasp either the significance of Christ, or the words he spoke.
Here, Paul first addresses the idea that the Jews have some sort of excuse for not understanding Christ. The proof against them lies in the very Bible they revere, the prophets and poets of the Old Testament. Neither they nor anybody else has the excuse of ignorance for denying Christ; they are driven to perfidy not by ignorance, but by disobedience and pride. Just as Isaiah prophesied: “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Isaiah 65:2).
Instead of the experts, it is the fools who are being saved by Christ: most of them are Gentiles, those who do not pretend to know anything about God and are eager to learn. Paul's lesson here is another variation of the “come unto me as little children” theme. We must always be open-minded and eager to learn, for no matter who we are, God has many things to tell us that we do not know.
As we learn more about God, we have a tendency to close our ears. There are good reasons for this. We hear things spoken about Christ and the Bible we know not to be true, or we hear things we have heard so many times before that we are not interested in hearing them yet again. Our natural tendency is not to pay attention to anything we have not already learned.
But there is always something new to learn. And our minds are full of tricks. Our base nature will constantly throw up false arguments to whittle away at our knowledge of God. Even what we have heard before, we need to hear again, because our minds will lead us astray if we do not reinforce our knowledge of Christ and His message constantly.