Daily Devotion for November 19, 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.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
the quiet waters by.
My soul He doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Ee'n for His own Name's sake.
Within the paths of righteousness,
Ee'n for His own Name's sake.
Yea, though I pass through shadows death,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
Thy rod and staff they comfort still
They comfort still.
My table Thou hast furnishd
In presence of my foes;
My head with oil thou dost anoint,
And my cup overflows.
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my days
Will surely follow me;
And in my father's heart alway
My dwelling place shall be.
Music by James L, Macbeth Bain (1890)
Lyrics by King David (1000 B.C.)
Prayer for Faith During this Day
Holy God, I am weak, and sometimes the way grows fearsome; for this world is filled with evil, hiding at every corner, ready to steal my precious joy in You, craving to destroy my soul. Help me to keep my faith today, through every trial and doubt I face. Stay close to me; Holy Spirit, abide in me and make your presence known in everything I see and do. Give me strength the whole day through, mighty God, in the name of Christ I pray,
Prayer to the King
Lord Christ, you are my King and I have no other. I will follow the laws of men, where I can do so without offending Your holy ordinances and teachings, for your Bible has taught us to obey the civil authorities. I will pay my taxes and I will render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, but they do not have my heart and they do not have my soul. For my King does not sit in a palace of stone; my King does not wear robes trimmed with fur. My King does not make promises he cannot keep. My King cannot be corrupted, will never shame me, will never make excuses. My King will never cover-up his wrongdoing, because my King commits no wrong, hates no man, and would give up His very life for me.
For my King is Jesus Christ the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth, clothed in righteousness, crowned by truth and seated on a throne of eternal glory! And to You and You alone I swear my allegiance, my faith, my hope, my life and my soul, today and as long as I live,
[The Kingship of Christ.]
Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Power of the Bible
I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.
~ R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord
Romans 8:28-30 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Notes on the Scripture
Christian Denominations: Calvinism in a Nutshell
Let me first say, Daily Prayer is not CalvinistThis is not to imply that we are anti-Calvinist, either. Daily Prayer, being nondenominational, does not espouse or oppose any particular systematic theology. and is not advocating Calvinism. This is an educational article about what Calvinists believe, not whether they are right or wrong.
John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French leader of the Protestant Reformation. His theology, based heavily on today's passage from Romans, is followed by a sizable minority of Christians. If you have ever wondered what the word “Reformed” means — such as on a church sign that says “Dutch Reformed” or “Reformed Baptist” — it signifies doctrine based on Calvin's thought. “Reformed”, in theological circles, is the broad term for “Calvinist”, although most Reformed theologians and believers differ in one or more respects from pure Calvinist doctrine.
Sovereignty of God. This sounds non-controversial, but what it means is not necessarily what it sounds like. The cornerstone of Calvinism is that God has all power, to the degree that He appoints the course of nature and directs the course of history down to the minutest details. Man cannot, therefore, have free will. Every thought we have and every action we take was pre-ordained by God.
Predestination - Single and Double.. Pure or “High” Calvinists believe that God has predestined some people for heaven (election) and some people for hell (reprobation). Many Reformed believers reject this in favor of “single” predestination, that God has chosen to preordain the salvation of particular people but has not intentionally and specifically predestined anyone for hell; rather, He passively allows it. They reject reprobation on the grounds that God is purely good and thus could not actively cause sinfulness.
Total Depravity. The extreme view of this is that man is fundamentally evil and incapable of good. Calvin himself, although he used the term, meant something less extreme: that man is enslaved to sin and cannot find his way out of it, unless God first comes to him and regenerates him. We are sufficiently “depraved”, in other words, that we cannot choose to follow Christ.
Unconditional Election. God's election to extend grace to a specific person is not conditioned on anything the person does. In other words, a person will accept Christ, repent sin, etc., only if God reforms the person's heart first.
Limited Atonement. Although Christ's sacrifice was sufficient to atone for all sin, it is effective only for the elect. Thus the benefits of atonement for sin are limited to the elect.
Irresistible Grace. The power of the Holy Spirit cannot be resisted by human will. If God has elected someone for salvation, that person will receive God's grace. Just as a person cannot, by his will, choose to accept Christ, he cannot choose to reject Christ if he has been elected by God.
Persistence of the Saints. This means basically, “once saved, always saved.” A person who has been saved in Christ cannot thereafter fall from grace. “Saints” is used in the generic sense of the New Testament to refer to all the members of the church. People who appear to accept Christ and then backslide into rejection either 1) Never had real faith, or 2) if they were actually saved, will be chastised by God until they return to belief. Some non-Reformed churches adhere to this particular tenet.
The Christian denominations generally associated with Calvinism are Presbyterian denominations, the United Church of Christ, some Baptists, and a host of small denominations or independent churches with the word “Reformed” in their name. The Pilgrims and Puritans of early America were Reformed.
To put this into context, there are generally five primary theological systems in the Christian community: Calvinist/Reformed, Lutheran, Arminian (e.g. Methodists), Orthodox, and Catholic/Roman Catholic. (Some other theological systems, such as Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses, generate rather emotional debate about whether they should be called “Christian”.) Generally, the split between Protestant churches regarding predestination issues is styled Calvinism vs. Arminianism.
There are indeed passages in the Bible that would steer one's mind strongly towards Reformed thought, most notably the quote from Romans in today's Scripture. There are other passages that can be seen to argue against each of the five (or six) tenets set forth above.
Note: Daily Prayer is intended to speak to Calvinists and Arminians alike — not to mention Catholics, Lutherans, Orthodox believers, and anyone else who confesses that Christ is the Son of God. The Bible repeatedly and absolutely demands unity and love within the Christian church; we should therefore strive to hear various theological doctrines with love for those who follow it, no matter how we might disagree with the logic.