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Daily Devotion for May 8, 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.
that tug of war at me,
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need.
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear,
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere.
In the presence of Jehovah,
God Almighty, Prince of Peace,
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended,
In the presence of the King.
Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest,
A place to find the answers,
In our hour of distress.
Now there's never any reason
For you to give up in despair;
Just slip away and breathe His name,
You will surely find Him there.
Music and Lyrics by Becky Davis and Geron Davis
Prayer for God‘s Protection
Heavenly Father, I live in your shelter. You are my refuge and my fortress. You are my God, in whom I trust. Deliver me and all those who love You from the dangers of the world, both the physical dangers that can crush our bodies and the deadly pestilence that can lay waste to our souls. Cover us with your mighty wings and protect us with your steadfast shield, and we will not fear the terror of the night or the perils of the day.
The world in its darkness curses you, the only truth, the only love, the only salvation; it seeks to destroy us by force, by sarcasm, by seduction, by compromise. But if a thousand fall to the lies of the world, if ten thousand should fall away, it will not affect me. For I have made you my dwelling place, O God. You have sent your angels to guard the faithful. On their hands, they bear us up, that no stone shall strike our foot, and no viper strike our heel.
Deliver me, O Lord, for I hold fast to you even in my fear. No temptation or power of earth can separate me from your love. You answer me when I call to you; you protect me because I call on your name. You have satisfied me with long life and salvation. All praise to the God of Jacob, all praise to Jesus Christ.
[God is my refuge from which I cannot be separated.]
For Understanding Truth
Lord God, let me not put my trust in the words of men, for their minds are weak and their tongues are tainted by the world; but let me test everything having to do with faith against our only true teacher, Jesus Christ, and the true Word of God that was inspired through the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God, I commend my spirit. Bless me and all those who pray in faith of You this day; save us and grant unto us everlasting life.
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.
God loves to pour out His Spirit with power on those who will dare to align radically their purposes with His.
~ Steve Childers
Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV)
The Great Commission
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Notes on the Scripture
Three of the most important statements in the Christian faith are compressed into the three sentences spoken by Jesus at the end of Matthew.
First, all authority in this universe have been given to Christ. If this doesn't seem a bit strange, it should. There is only one God. How can this have any meaning, God giving himself the power and authority He already holds?
But of course it means something! Christ is telling us that God has permanently altered his relationship with us, the way in which he will present himself to us and wants us to present ourselves to him. We cannot “know” God as He is because of our inherent limitations. We exist in time and space, and cannot understand a being who does not. We cannot comprehend God directly, any more than a camera can taste a pizza.
God became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth to give us a way to know him; he “humbled himself” to be human (Philippians 2:8), in part, to give us a representation we would be able to grasp. We can never know the actual why or what of God, so He told us what to do and has promised to judge us in accordance with something we can understand; a man who lived among us. Jesus made salvation and sanctification available to us, and taught us what we need to do to gain these gifts, in plain English. (Or, more accurately, plain Aramaic, written down — if you will excuse the oxymoron — in “plain Greek”.)
Second, he gave us a final instruction, called the Great Commission. How could these instructions be any clearer? 1) Make disciples of all nations, that is, spread the salvation of Christ to anyone on earth who will accept it; 2) baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and 3) teach them to observe all that Christ commanded us do.
Third, He will be with us always until the end of the age. As Christ had already told the disciples, this does not mean the resurrected Jesus, who will depart the earth. God will come to the disciples (and us) in the form of the Holy Spirit.
We might sometimes wonder whether the Holy Spirit is still with us. The healing, the speaking in tongues, and other powers that were manifest in the early disciples after Pentecost, seem to have deserted us. But the answer is here, in the last line of Matthew's Gospel: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Even when we completely forget him, He is right there, waiting for us to notice him. And He won't leave until Christ returns.
Christ says not only that the Father will send a spirit, but also, “I” will be with you. For there is only one God. At the present time, we can know him directly — we can perceive him — only as the Holy Spirit. If we love Christ and follow his commandments (John 14:15-21), he lives in us. He is a living God, living within us, so that we can know him and communicate directly with him. It is not a telephone line to heaven; it is God himself who personally lives in us.