Daily Devotion for August 10, 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.
For a Heart Open to God's Word
God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.
Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always,
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all gifts, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.
All this I ask in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom I have all faith,
[Grant me the gift of fortitude.]
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 5:1-7 (NKJV)
Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.
For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (NIV)
The Nature of Christ
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Notes on the Scripture
The Epistle to the Hebrews attempts to reconcile Jews to the new covenant and to explain to them how Christ had changed their relationship to God. These first verses, we have to remember, gave to them information they had never heard or did not clearly understand.
It acknowledges the truth of the prophets as God's spokesmen; but it then differentiates Christ, who was something more than the greatest of prophets. First, Christ was the heir of all things. He was not simply God's messenger, but stood in the same position as the Father. Secondly, Christ had been the vehicle by which God had made the universe. This echoes the first verse of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word”.
The second paragraph is easy enough to read. Notice how, in the final sentence, the epistle reiterates the theme of inheritance. The name of God was a hugely important concept to the Hebrews, so holy and fearsome that it was not spoken aloud. Once written, the word “YHWH” could not be erased; a book with the name written in it was not burned, but buried. For Christ to inherit the name of God was thus a matter of Christ being God.
Notice how it differentiates Christ from the angels; and some Christians today still do not really understand this. Angels are actual beings who act as God's messengers. Some of them have names; for instance, the angel who appears to Zechariah, announcing that he would have a son (John the Baptist), said: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.”
Angels were an important part of Judaism. Hebrews makes sure that the Jews understand that Christ was not an angel, because angels are not God. They are, like us, creatures of God, although they are different from us and have powers we do not. In fact, during his life, Jesus did not have the powers of an angel. (See Matthew 4:5-6) He voluntarily “emptied” himself of his divine power (Philippians 2:7), except for gifts that were given to him over time by the Father. Yet, his nature was God, and his inheritance was to once again be fully God.