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Daily Devotion for April 23, 2014
St. George’s Day - UK
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.
For all of us who are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves, here's the sure cure: A shot of Nick.
A Prayer of Entreaty by Jane Austen
Compassionate Lord, give me a thankful sense of the Blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by Discontent or Indifference.
Be gracious to my Necessities, and guard me, and all I love, from Evil this day. May the sick and afflicted, be now, and ever thy care; and heartily do I pray for the safety of all that travel by Land or by Sea, for the comfort & protection of the Orphan and Widow and that thy pity may be shewn upon all Captives and Prisoners.
Above all other blessings Oh! God, for myself, and my fellow-creatures, I implore Thee to quicken our sense of thy Mercy in the redemption of the World, of the Value of that Holy Religion in which we have been brought up, that we may not, by our own neglect, throw away the salvation thou hast given us, nor be Christians only in name. Hear me Almighty God, for His sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.
[Let me not be a Christian only in name.]
Prayer for Forgiveness
Heavenly Father, true God, who sent your beloved Son to seek the wandering sheep, I have sinned against heaven and before you; receive me like the Prodigal Son, and clothe me with the garment of innocence, of which I was deprived by sin. Have mercy upon your creatures and upon me, a great sinner, through the miracle of Christ's resurrection and your grace, I pray.
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
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.
Psalm 119:97-104 (NKJV)
Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.
How a Christian Should Live
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.
But now you must get rid of all such things — anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Notes on the Scripture
When I was a youngster, I learned the secret to being a faithful Christian — not from a preacher or priest, and not in church or Sunday school, but from a grizzled old coach on a baseball field, who told us the secret to winning baseball games: “Basics and execution.” There are things we need to learn to play baseball, and there are things we need to learn to be true Christians, but they are not terribly complicated. Jesus did not come to earth to save smart people; He came to save all people. All we have to do is learn the basics and execute.
Today's lesson reminded me of that coach. There isn't any mystery to what Paul is saying and it really doesn't need a lot of commentary. There is no deep theological web of thought to untangle, no hidden meaning, nothing unclear. Is it hard to understand what fornication, slander, and lying are? Is there anyone who cannot comprehend what humility is, does not understand compassion, or know what it means to give thanks? If we want to follow the path of Christ, what we should do is fairly easy to state.
There is a third leg to the secret that every athlete understands: Practice. The commandments given to us in the Bible do not come naturally; if they did, we wouldn't need them! Let's take the hardest one, humility, which seems to be both the most basic and the most underutilized tool in the Christian skill set.
There is only one way that we are going to find humility, and that is practice. How humble should we try to be? Well, Jesus washed his apostles' feet. We are servants.
This takes practice. Every time we make a decision, we can ask ourselves “what would a truly humble person do?” We can think and pray about our actions at the end of the day, and ask ourselves if Jesus would have done what we did. A lot of times, the most worst braggarts are people with deep wounds, and we might suspect that a lot of our own pride is an attempt to heal some inner pain, especially a sense of inadequacy.
But if that is our problem, Christ is our answer. The more faith we develop in God, the less need we will have for the praise of others. Christ is going to take care of us; and the stronger our realization of Christ's love and power becomes in us, the weaker our need for status and praise in the eyes of other people.