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Daily Devotion for September 28, 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.
Our“ Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to King’s Chapel at Cambridge. This anthem from the Tudor Masses is so quiet, you might want to play it while you pray.
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me; the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong; and the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy on me, and forgive for all my sins against you and against others. And teach us to forgive others and ourselves, through the grace of my Lord, Jesus Christ,
Prayer for Unity Among Christians
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace, I have tried to read your Bible and find your Word and your will for me, and to study it. But I think so many thoughts about it, and then I start to think I know something, and then I see another church or hear a pastor or read something, and I think, “that person is wrong”. Or the pastor of my church or a Bible teacher will tell me one thing, and then somebody else will tell me something completely different.
Please, dear God, help me and every person who confesses Christ as his Lord and Savior, not think that they know everything and get into arguments with each other. Let us always remember that it is not other Christians who are our enemies, just because they think something different, or baptize people differently, or have different ideas about sacraments or church leadership or whatever foolish doctrine we might fight about. Let us always remember that there was one Christ, one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and one church. Heal any and all divisions between Christians, Holy God.
And let me be part of the solution and not part of the problem, I pray. Let me put first your command, that we bear with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Let me not be made angry or self-righteous by doctrine, but remember always who our true enemy is and direct my efforts to the defeat of atheism and the death that comes from living in the flesh. In the name of Christ, hear my prayer,
Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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 20:6 (ESV)
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
2 Corinthians 5:1-8 (J. B. Phillips NT)
We know, for instance, that if our earthly dwelling were taken down, like a tent, we have a permanent house in Heaven, made, not by man, but by God. In this present frame we sigh with deep longing for the heavenly house, for we do not want to face utter nakedness when death destroys our present dwelling—these bodies of ours. So long as we are clothed in this temporary dwelling we have a painful longing, not because we want just to get rid of these “clothes” but because we want to know the full cover of the permanent house that will be ours. We want our transitory life to be absorbed into the life that is eternal.
Death can have no terrors, for it means being with God.
Now the power that has planned this experience for us is God, and he has given us his Spirit as a guarantee of its truth. This makes us confident, whatever happens. We realize that being “at home” in the body means that to some extent we are “away” from the Lord, for we have to live by trusting him without seeing him. We are so sure of this that we would really rather be “away” from the body (in death) and be “at home” with the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
Can I Be Cremated?
What prompted the Scripture today was an indication, from one of our readers, that there are people who are not sure how they should provide for their burial. Does the Bible say a person must be buried? Can a person be cremated? Is there any Biblical preference for how one is “laid to rest”?
The short answer to the last question is: “No”. There is absolutely positively no Biblical requirement that a Christian‘s physical remains be treated in a certain way. The respect that we show for dead bodies is a human emotional act, not a religious one. Reading Paul's guidance in 2 Corinthians shows us why this is true. Our old body will be destroyed.
Paul uses the metaphor of a tent (for our earthly body) and a permanent house (for our resurrection body), based on the old Hebrew places of worship. Those who have read Exodus will remember that Moses built the tabernacle, which was a tent. It was designed as a temporary place to keep the Ark of the Covenant, until a permanent temple could be built. (In fact, the Temple was not built for roughly 300 years!)
Our bodies are like the old tabernacle. They are a temporary dwelling place for our soul (or spirit) so that we might accomplish whatever God intends for us during our short life on earth. When the Day of Judgment comes, we will be resurrected — but not in our bodies. As the Ark got a permanent dwelling in the Temple, our souls will get a permanent dwelling in a new body that God will create for us.
Paul took almost the entirety of 1 Corinthians 15 to elaborate this. E.g.:
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. . . . It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality(1 Cor. 15:42-44, 53-54)
Once we die, our soul is separated from our earthly body forever. A dead body is no longer a human being. The living might feel attached to it, out of their own human emotional need, but as far as the dead person is concerned, it can be thrown in the ocean.
For God will give us a new body, a glorious, permanent, incorruptible body, when the resurrection occurs.