Daily Devotion for May 16, 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.
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
his army shall he lead,
till every foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed.
2. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the trumpet call obey;
forth to the mighty conflict,
in this his glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve him
against unnumbered foes;
let courage rise with danger,
and strength to strength oppose.
3. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.
4. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the strife will not be long;
this day the noise of battle,
the next the victor's song.
To those who vanquish evil
a crown of life shall be;
they with the King of Glory
shall reign eternally.
For Joy in God's Creation
O Heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open my eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that rejoicing in your whole creation, I may learn to serve you with gladness, faithfully managing your bounty; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Open my eyes.]
For Those Making All Kinds of Journeys
I pray for all who will be making journeys today: For those who are going to a new job and for those who are going to work for the last time today; For the emergency services who will travel at high speed on land, water or in the air, to bring help to others; For those starting a new life as they move into a new home; For those travelling to or from prison; For people who will go into hospital today; For young people on their way to school, college and university; For those who are lost on the journey of life; For those who will die today and make their final journey. I remember all these people now, and ask your blessing upon them, Lord.
Blessing for the Day
Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always,
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.
Understanding the Bible
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
Submission to the Governing Authorities
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.
Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Notes on the Scripture
In this passage, Paul gives us a practical lesson on how to relate to the civil government: Just do what it tells you. Pay your taxes and obey the law, for we have more important things to worry about.
The true Christian attitude towards the civil authorities is a specific instance of Christ’s the more general teaching, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24) We must ask ourselves where our hearts lie. Am I first a citizen of the Kingdom of God, or a citizen of Country X? Am I a patriot or a Christian? This is a hard pill to swallow for many people, for love of country is a strong and natural emotion.
Almost anything we hold dear in the secular world should come under the scrutiny of the Bible, for the things we cherish in the secular world are parts of that world, not parts of God's kingdom. We want to participate in society just like everyone else. But Christianity requires a choice of how we order our priorities. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
Sanctification and salvation do not come from the institutions of this world, but from God who is in heaven and lives in our souls. We can make this our primary aim in life, to love God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves, or we can make the things of this world our paramount interest. But we cannot do both. “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
The Christian church has throughout history been the victim of sedition from within, by people who confuse their attitudes in the world with the holy teaching of God. It became co-opted the moment Constantine the Great put crosses and chi rho’sThe Chi Rho, a symbol made from the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek (XP), was the predominant symbol of Christ at the time. The shield pictured has a Chi Rho emblem., symbols of the “Prince of Peace”, on his soldiers' shields and sent them forth to kill people in the name of Christ.
Every one of us faces the temptation to confound what we think is right, in our own mind, with what God tells us is right. But “you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” (Ephesians 4:17) The purpose of the Bible is not to support our own fallible attitudes of right and wrong. Its purpose is to teach us what we do not know — and some of these teachings are things we do not want to hear.
So, we are going to suggest an assignment for today: Find something in the Bible that you don't want to hear. (Today's passage was a good start for me, personally.)