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Daily Devotion for January 7, 2015
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.
There is a terrific story behind this song, in today's Daily Inspiration.
Another day is through.
Someone slipped and fell.
Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength,
Your courage to renew.
Do not be disheartened,
For I have news for you.
It is no secret what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.
There is no night for in His light
You never walk alone.
Always feel at home,
Wherever you may go.
There is no power can conquer you
While God is on your side.
Take Him at His promise,
Don't run away and hide.
Music and Lyrics by Stuart Hamblen (1954)
To Take up the Shield of Faith
Heavenly Father, let me take up the shield of faith this morning and carry it before me throughout the day. For the darkness of the world attacks my soul from every direction.
The world wants me to hate myself and hate you, precious Lord. It tries at every turn to seduce me to the emptiness of revenge. It lures me to the love of money. Envy, anger, and vanity are the traps it sets. It tells me to worship myself until I am hollow. Pride is its bait, and death is its reward.
Defend me, I pray, against the constant assault of impurity that life in the world brings. Great and powerful God, I take up your shield, the only shield that can protect me: my hope and certainty that your love and promise to protect me, for all eternity, will be with me for the asking. For the only truth is yours, the only power is yours, and our only hope lies in you, our true and mighty and loving God. In Christ's name I pray,
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
[The trap of vanity.]
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in His sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
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.
A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (DP)
The Dead Will Be Raised
13-14 On a different subject, we want you to understand something about those who have died in Christ, so that you will not mourn and grieve for the dead like those who have no hope. For once a person understands that Jesus died and then rose again from the dead, he also should understand that God intends to do the same for those who believe in Christ.
13 Now not we want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning the sleeping, so that not to grieve like the not-having-hope others.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, just so god the having-gone-to-sleep through Jesus will take with him.
Notes on the Scripture
With the Christmas season over — and we at Daily Prayer hope all of you had a heartwarming and inspirational Christmas — we are picking up where we left off, in Ch. 4 of 1 Thessalonians. We ended 2014 with a section on Christian lifestyle, 1 Thess. 8-12. If you read quickly down the page, you will see that verse 12 ends a distinct section; it is a puzzlement, in fact, why Bishop Langton (who promulgated the chapters and verses we use today, in 1227) did not start a new chapter here.
Beginning in verse 13, Paul addresses a completely new subject, eschatology, a word worth learning, as we will be using it a lot. It means, literally, “study of the end” or “study of the last”, and it specifically refers to what will occur when Christ returns to earth and the Kingdom of God is fully established.
espite Paul's warnings to the contrary, the people of Thessalonica believed that Christ would return immediately; they woke up each morning believing that “this is the day”. As time went on, members of the community began to die and be buried. For some reason, many of the church did not understand that the dead would be resurrected. Many theories about their confusion exist, but for whatever reason, they believed Christ would “assume” — that is, transform and bring to Himself — those living in a state of salvation, and since they expected the Second Coming any day, this is the only path to the Kingdom they had considered. Apparently, they believed those who died were lost forever.
This may sound preposterous to us, today, but we should put ourselves in their place: They had no Bible and their teacher had been run out of town soon after their conversion. Perhaps Paul had not had a chance to flesh out the meaning of Christ's resurrection fully; or perhaps they had forgotten what he said, or there were new converts. At any rate, many of them were distraught and grieving over their friends and family who had died before Christ's return.
Remembering that this is probably the oldest book in the New Testament, we can see these verses as the foundational statement of a doctrine we take for granted; it is where we first learn that Christ's victory over death belongs to us, as his heirs, and that we may expect eternal life even if we die in the flesh. Paul is not correcting a silly or even hysterical misapprehension by the Thessalonians. Rather, acting as Christ's apostle, he is announcing the doctrine of eternal life specifically for those who have died.