Daily Devotion for April 30, 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.
With my head bowed low,
In the darkness as black as could be.
And my heart felt alone
and I cried, oh Lord,
Don't hide your face from me.
Hold my hand all the way,
every hour every day,
From here to the great unknown.
Take my hand, let me stand,
Where no one stands alone.
Like a king I may live in a palace so tall,
With great riches to call my own;
But I don't know a thing
In this whole wide world
That's worse than being alone.
Music and Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong,
Frank E Wright, III, and Michael Pritchard.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.
[Hearing God’s voice.]
For All Who Sin
Mighty Jesus, you are the radiant dawn bringing life into the world, and yet there are those who would hide in the shadows and under cover, in the caves of the flesh, telling each other that the darkness is good, and easy, and comfortable. I pray dear God that you will send your Holy Spirit to all of them, to show them that the fearful jaws of their insecurity become toothless when seen in the sunshine of your Word, and that they might see the true nature of evil, which hides with them in the dark, to keep them company and whisper lies in their ears.
For those who have seen the light and shrunk from it, I pray that they may be restored, and that you will ease the terrible pain that drove them to hide from you, that they might be assured of forgiveness if they will only repent. Lighten the minds of those who have been warped by anger, by bitterness, by selfishness, or by the allure of glittering bangles of wealth or status or pride.
Have mercy on me, dear Jesus, where I have strayed; and bring your light to all our brothers and sisters, that they may seek your mercy also, and find your perfect and eternal life.
Prayer of Resolve
I bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.
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 112:5-7 (ESV)
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
Luke 12:13-21 (ESV)
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'
But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Notes on the Scripture
Here's a joke: What do call a man with 500 million dollars? Answer: “A frustrated billionaire”.
Jesus and the rich young man
Some people, even if they are Christians and are trying to heed the Word, simply cannot break the greed for earthly possessions. We are all guilty of this to some degree and could do better. Sometimes we buy something unnecessary just for fun. A shiny car, an expensive pair of shoes, a cool mobile internet device. And we don't criticize ourselves or get criticized by other people for it (unless perhaps we live in a community where there is a high level of sensitivity to unneeded earthly goods, such as the Amish). In fact, we often get positive reinforcement from other people admiring our new toys.
But these little “guilty pleasures” steer us away from God. Christ was very firm in his conviction that we must choose between love of God and love for money. There is always the extreme, the case of the rich young ruler,
Thus he set the Christian ideal. Very few people do as Christ taught, here. In fact, it is one of those parts of the Bible people prefer to hear and not hear, at the same time. But you cannot love both God and money. (Matthew 6:24) In fact, you cannot love both God and the world. “Do you not know that the love of this world is hatred toward God?” (James 4:4)
Jesus goes a little softer in today’s lesson, but only a little. A rich man has a crop that is too large for his barns to hold; his solution is to build a bigger barn. The analogue to modern life could not be any clearer. This is the couple who starts making more money and uses it to buy a bigger, fancier house, or a more luxurious car.
One shudders to think what will become of us if Christ enforces these words strictly. Very few of us will be saved. The Bible does not give us hard and fast guidelines as to who will be saved and who will not. Christ does forgive sins — he can forgive any sin — to those who have faith in him. But the Bible makes it clear that faith does not consist of believing in Christ, being baptized, and then going on with our lives just like all the heathens around us. “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17) And as we saw in Matthew, “[B]ecause lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13)
(Note: The meaning of “justification by faith” is terribly misunderstood by many Christians. We are out of room here, but will specifically tackle it as a subject when we finish Matthew.)