Daily Devotion for March 26, 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.
Our apologies for the “Viva Las Vegas” album cover, but this is the only available version of Faith Hill's fantastic rendition of “Peace in the Valley”.
Prayer to Have Inner Peace in the Coming Day
Heavenly God, may I have peace within, this day;
May I trust God that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be confident knowing I am a child of God.
Let this presence settle into my bones, and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. This I pray in Christ's name,
(~ St. Therese of Lisieux)
[Trusting God that we I am where I am meant to be.]
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 43:3-4 (NKJV)
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.
Romans 12:15-16[a] (ESV)
Sharing Pain and Joy
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly [or, “give yourself to humble tasks”].
Notes on the Scripture
Paul seems to anticipate here a life that is centered around a church; and that is church with a small “c”, because it is hard to imagine he would have approved of a diversity of denominations marked by mutual jealousy, division, and even enmity that was to occur. Unfortunately, as Christianity grew and became an official and often mandatory national religion, churches began to wield both economic and political power. As is often noted, power corrupts; the corruption of the church was profound and heartbreaking.
Most people in the United States think “separation of church and state” is a doctrine created for the good of the state, so that people will not forced to worship in a certain way. But it is the best thing that could happen to churches. If you doubt this, simply read a history of Europe from 1400 to 1800. Churches, which were intended as rather informal gatherings of faithful Christians to rejoice and weep with one another, to learn and to worship, were co-opted by unscrupulous men seeking wealth and power.
Take the phrase “live in harmony with one another”, which is simple to understand but impossible to implement when church leadership interests itself in politics rather than salvation. The most devastating war ever fought, the Thirty Years' War in the early 1600s, was the sole product of church involvement in politics. Catholic and Protestant interests utterly devastated the many states that comprised what is now Germany. Often, every house was burned and every farm destroyed. Scholars estimate that the male population of the German States decreased by as much as 50%.
Consider: Were these people interested in following the teaching of the Bible? Or were their interests elsewhere?
We must always return to the Bible and keep its lessons at the forefront of our mind, especially the lessons that do not comport with our political views. Paul tells us to have empathy with our fellow Christians, to live in harmony, not to be haughty or arrogant. If we find ourselves saying “yes, but . . . ” to these instructions, we must always remember that it is the “yes” part that is right, and the “but” part which needs examination and correction.