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Daily Devotion for February 18, 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.
Colours of the Day (with lyrics) from the British 2011 Schools Choir Competition Finals. If this doesn't put you in a good mood — you're hopeless!
A Child's Prayer
For Morn, my dome of blue,
For Meadows, green and gay,
And Birds who love the twilight of the leaves,
Let Jesus keep me joyful when I pray.
For the big Bees that hum
And hide in bells of flowers;
For the winding roads that come
To Evening’s holy door,
May Jesus bring me grateful to his arms,
And guard my innocence for evermore.
[Let us close our eyes for a minute and meditate on what it means to guard our innocence.]
Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being.
I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.
Oh God who has made me, oh God who keeps me, oh God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down Your blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep You in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Money is not a blessing; it's a test.
~ Francis Frangipane
Matthew 19:27-30 (ESV)
Many of the last will be first.
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Notes on the Scripture
After all of the scary stuff, about it being easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven, it is time for some comfort! The apostles themselves were made anxious; in verse 25 they even ask, “Who then can be saved?” The question can only mean that they fear salvation is impossible, that the requirements are too tough.
But Jesus' words, “through God all things are possible” gives hope to all; for God can, indeed, make a camel fit through the needle's eye. We must remember always that the salvation of Christ is not, first and foremost, a salvation of works. It cannot be had by acts alone. It occurs in the heart and soul, when we receive the Holy Spirit.
But then we must go back to the preceding verses; holding onto the things of this world makes salvation more difficult and might make it impossible. Faith without works is, in the words of James, “dead”. If the Spirit is strong in us, we will naturally follow Christ more strongly.
The lack of a Mosaic law, the lack of a specific set of external requirements that will ensure our salvation, is sometimes disquieting. But we must remember, first, that righteousness through law failed. God only gave the law of Moses, in fact, so that we might realize that we cannot follow it. Anyone who thinks that he has done enough good deeds to earn his place in heaven is kidding himself.
But Jesus does promise heaven to the apostles, those who have given up everything — possessions, friends, family, comforts — to follow him. And (to interpret the passage), his teaching “that many who are first will be last” seems to indicate that heaven holds greater and lesser rewards, or at least, some sort of hierarchy. Christ speaks repeatedly to the effect that our actions “lay up treasure in heaven” for us, or that some will be more blessed in the afterlife than others. He might mean this literally, i.e., the more closely we follow him, the greater our joy when the new order arrives. Or, he might simply be trying to depict heaven in terms we can understand.
Nevertheless, we must strive for holiness in everything we do. We must not lie to ourselves. Loving our money, giving in to our materialism and vanity, our pride, our anger, are terrible sins, and we must constantly strive to overcome them.