Daily Devotion for May 27, 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.
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester (1230 A.D.)
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits thou hast won for me,
For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly
For ever and ever.
[May I know Christ more clearly.]
Prayers for Those Torn by Alcohol and Drugs
I pray, O God of hope, for all persons and families whose lives are torn and disrupted by drugs and alcohol. Enable them to identify the illness. Strengthen them to seek help. Bless them with the power of your love, which imparts transformation and wholeness to those who trust in your name. Grant that as they walk this tortured road, they may journey together, bound close together in the bond of love. Shine your light upon them, Lord Christ, that they may see the path out of their misery, and give them the strength to follow it.
Walk with me, dear Lord, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may reflect the light of your truth, to inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
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.
The dirtier your Bible, the cleaner your heart!
~ Victor Manuel Rivera
Colossians 3:1-17 (ESV)
Overview of the New Testament: The Epistles
7. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. . . . Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on 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 one body.
Notes on the Scripture
Colossians, the third of Paul's prison epistles, is unusual in that Paul had never been to Colossi. It is a short epistle (four chapters) and quite readable, although the only new territory it covers are several specific heresies.
The epistle is filled with praise for the believers in the church, so the problems it addresses were not as widespread as the comparative uproar in Corinth and Galatia earlier. While Paul does not define the false teachings, his plea that “no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition” and admonition that “the fullness of deity dwells bodily [in Christ]” (Col. 2:8,9) implies some variant of Gnosticism.
Angel sleeping with a lion
Rutland Psalter (1245)
Gnosticism covers a wide range of pseudo-Christian systems, mixing the Gospel with pre-Christian Greek philosophies. Gnostics taught that all matter is evil. A Supreme God or pure good could not mix with matter; thus, they hypothesized a pantheon of lesser deities interposed between God and the world. Jesus and the Hebrew YHVH were two of these lesser deities.
Having established the basics of sound Christian belief in Ch. 1-2 — with emphasis on the full divinity of Christ — Paul devotes the last two chapters to practical advice about how to live as a Christian. The transitional paragraph (above, beginning “If then you have been raised with Christ”) is a clarifying statement, connecting our spiritual life to our daily life. It is sometimes hard to grasp what concepts such as “born again” mean; many people find that the beginning of Colossians 3 helps their understanding of the great Christian mystery called “life in Christ”.
Paul mentions the church of LaodiceaAt the end of Colossians, Paul mentions a letter to the Laodicean church, and asks the Colossians to swap letters with them. The Laodicean epistle has not been found. in 2:1, which is famous for another reason: it is last of nine churches detailed in the quasi-epistle of Revelation 2 and 3. Many people believe that this stands as a prophecy of the church in the Western world today, for the Laodicean church was marked by lukewarm religious fervor and material prosperity; moreover, the word “laodicea” in Greek can be reasonably be read to mean “judgment by the people”, inferring a dilution or hybridization of the Gospel with secular thought, due to pressure from popular opinion.