Daily Devotion for March 20, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory forever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
[Being the fruit of God’s new creation.]
For a Positive Attitude Today
Lord, as I offer you all that is ordinary and everyday in my life, I ask you to give me the power of your Spirit that I may transform each day by living with a positive attitude, looking for the best in people and situations. Inspire me to live in your presence every day so that I may have a full share of the hope only your Spirit can bring; lead me do the ordinary things of life in an extraordinary way, to your glory.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.
Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
But the Lord directs his steps.
Matthew 23:8-12 (ESV)
Do Not Be Called Rabbi
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.
The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Notes on the Scripture
In some Amish communities, a few of the men are designated “preachers” or “ministers”. Whether they worship in home churches, as some communities do, or in a church building, as others do, the services are led by these preachers.
Do they get formal degrees from a seminary to hang on their wall? Are they elected because of their ability to expound the Bible with insight? Are they chosen by virtue of their high intelligence or articulate speaking? No, no, and no. They are not elected at all; they are chosen by lots. They are nothing more than brothers who have been given a particular job, one that does not separate them in status from anyone else in the church.
The simple commandment from Christ in today's Scripture was spoken to the Pharisees, but his words are not limited to them. These words themselves prove they are intended for Christians, for Jesus says, “You have one instructor, the Christ.”
Pride in position and politics are diseases that began to infect Christendom even when the apostles were alive. By their nature, men want to be important. They want others to look up to them. They want their opinions to prevail. Moreover, even if they are not leaders in their church, they want to be able to have power in determining who the church is to call “teacher”. People want to be taught what they want to hear; what agrees with what they already think.
But Jesus tells us, call no man “teacher”. We have only one teacher, and that is Jesus Christ. We consider epistles written by several apostles to be inspired, but Paul and James and John are not our teachers; they are nothing more than God's writing instruments. Paul makes his role as a servant very clear in several places, particularly in Galatians and 1 Corinthians:
One widespread interpretation of Revelation 1-3 assigns the seven churches to seven periods in the history of the earth; for anyone who follows that interpretation, we are living in the time of the Church of Laodicea. For those who do not, John's remarks about Laodicea are nevertheless chillingly applicable to Christianity in the 21st century.
In Greek, laodicea means roughly “the law of the crowd”. And without doubt, we see today the doctrine of churches being determined, in part, by what congregations wants to hear. Expectations of democracy have become so generalized that they have infected an inappropriate sphere, for God's word and God's will are not subject to popular vote. There is no provision for Constitutional Amendments to the Bible. We cannot elect a new God. He is above, we are below.