Daily Devotion for January 16, 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.
This Irish duet sounds straight out of 1930s Texas with this lovely, soft, Western-American sounding song.
Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.
oh, how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.
If, in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us,
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.
Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal;
Come then, oh, come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, oh, never depart.
Music and Lyrics by Septimus Winner, 1868
Prayer of Resolve
Blessed Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve — and will try this day with my full heart — to imitate Your example, to be like You: mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and kind. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with this day — not only people I like — and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever.
The things, great Lord, that I pray for, give me thy grace to labour for.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.
That, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[What arrogance infects my heart?]
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Our Deepest Desire
We want so much more — something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
~ C. S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory
1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 (DP Bible)
Living in Peace
11-13 Continue to encourage one another, my brothers and sisters. Build each other up. Be sure to love those who labor for you, respect those who lead you in Christ, and honor those who give you instruction. Be at peace with one another.
12 So we ask you, brothers, to know By extension, to recognize, or by further extension to honor, to respect. the toiling Or those being weary from labor; among you and standing-before  By extension, either caretaking, or leading. of you in lord and admonishing you,
13 and to respect them uttermostly Fyi, Paul goes “over the top” with this word, lit. something like “above most abundantly”; in love on account of the work of them. Be at peace with each other Or, yourselves. .
Footnotesv. 11 –  alt. edify;  idiom, one another.
v. 12 –  or to honor, to respect; ext. of to know;  or those being weary from labor;  by ext., caretaking, or leading.
v. 13 –  fyi, Paul goes “over the top” with this word, lit. something like “above most abundantly”;  or, yourselves.
Notes on the Scripture
hat a beautiful message from the Apostle Paul to every Christian in Christendom. He starts by telling us to encourage each other in our faith. People rarely get encouragement in church, at least not directly; so how can we do it? There is a hint in Paul's terminology, for he uses a term remarkably similar to “edify” in English. To “edify”, meaning to teach someone, comes from a root that means, literally, “to buildIn modern English, edifice means a building, particularly a large or imposing one.”. The Greek word is exactly parallel: it is derived from the Greek verb meaning “to build”.
So Paul gives us simultaneous meanings. We should enlighten each other and build each other up. This could be as simple as sharing our witness with someone else, to let them hear that another person shares their love of Christ and conviction in Him; or it might mean, if we know something useful, we speak up, not fearing embarrassment.
People who teach or lead at church need encouragement, as well. We are told to love and respect those who work and those who teach. Paul actually makes up a word to describe how much we need to do this. He starts with a superlative, “most exceedingly” (or “exceedingliest”) and adds a “super-” to the beginning. (He was not one to avoid overstatement.)
Specifically included in those we must honor in the utmost are those who admonish us, which likely includes leaders who correct us. It is indeed painful to give honor to someone who criticizes you; in this day and age of democracy and self-actualization, most people react to criticism — no matter how justified or helpful — with hostility, or at least defensiveness. This is, however, the duty of the clergy, and the failing of churches today is often that the clergy pander to the congregation.
Martin Luther advised preachers: “Always preach in such a way that if people listening do not come to hate their sin, they will instead hate you.” We know that the clergy are not perfect; in fact, the temptation to pride is so great, that the clergy are infected with it almost immediately, and we are constantly tempted to criticize them for their pridefulness. So Paul instructs us in a specific instance of Christ's teaching, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)
Paul instructs us to apply this to the clergy. We must learn and be chastised by men who are themselves not perfect; and we must give them great love and honor for their efforts.