Daily Devotion for January 18, 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.
I think our “Virtual Sunday Church” is the Royal Albert Hall. (Perhaps someone can enlighten us.) But wherever it is, the congregation is the largely-Welsh “Festival of Massed Choirs.”
1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Music “Blaenwern”, William P. Rowlands, 1905
Lyrics by Charles Wesley, 1747
Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, Who has given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee and does promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name you will grant their requests; fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the world to come life everlasting,
Most Gracious Lord God, from whom proceeds every good and perfect gift, I offer to your divine majesty my unfeigned praise and thanksgiving for all your mercies towards me. You made me at first and have ever since sustained the work of your own hand; you gave your Son to die for me; and have given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to his holy precepts and example.
You are pleased to lengthen out to me the time of repentance and to move me to it by your spirit and by the word, by your mercies, and by your judgments; out of a deepness of your mercies, and by my own unworthiness, I do appear before you at this time; I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ's sake; instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what you give me strength to bear.
Take care, I pray you, of my affairs and more and more direct me in your truth, defend me from my enemies, especially my spiritual ones. Do not allow me to be drawn away from you, by the blandishments of the world, carnal desires, the cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin. Work in me your good will and pleasure, and discharge my mind from all things that are displeasing to you, of all ill will and discontent, wrath and bitterness, pride and vain conceit of myself, and make me charitable, pure, holy, patient and heavenly minded.
Be with me at the hour of death; dispose me for it, and deliver me from the slavish fear of it, and make me willing and fit to die whenever you may decide to call me. Bless our rulers in church and state. Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of You and your son Jesus Christ.
Pity the sick, the poor, the weak, the needy, the widows and fatherless, and all that mourn or are broken in heart, and be merciful to them according to their particular needs. Bless my friends, and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness from You, my heavenly Father.
I beseech you to defend me this week from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask, for Jesus Christ's sake, in whose most holy name & words, I continue to pray, Our Father.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Psalm 8:3-5 (NKJV)
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
Notes on the Scripture
In the last few decades, a major revolution has been taking place in physics and astronomy. On the subatomic level, the universe has become far more mysterious, complex, and variegated than we could have ever imagined. On the cosmic level, we have discovered to our amazement that our sun is only one of 100 billion other stars in the Milky Way galaxy, that our galaxy is a single member of a local cluster of galaxies, that this cluster of galaxies is but one unit in an immense supercluster of galactic systems, and that this supercluster is only the tiniest speck in comparison with the rest of the known universe.
hen we consider the immensity of the heavens and the comparatively trivial scale of our own existence on this planet, who are we that the Creator of the universe should be mindful of us? We are often tempted to doubt that the Lord of glory loves and cares for us and is concerned about our hopes and fears, our joys and disappointments.
How can we know that God really loves us? This is no academic issue, because all of us were created with a built-in need for love and acceptance. Eternity has been implanted in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and this desperate need for unconditional love cannot be fully met on the plane of human relationships.
Nature reveals the existence of God, but it takes the revelation of Scripture for us to know that we are the objects of his love. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
Love is not something static; it is dynamic. It acts for the benefit of the one loved. God didn’t merely tell us that he loves us but proved it by entering his own creation and bearing the suffering of humanity on his scourged back. This gives us a genuine basis for trusting God. “God is love” (1 John 4:8)—when he loves us he is simply being himself. F. B. Meyer wrote that the love of God is like “the Amazon River flowing down to water one daisy.”
When we come to know and believe the love which God has for us (1 John 4:16), there should be an initial and an ongoing response. The initial response is to accept God’s costly gift of new life in Christ by trusting in him and in him alone for salvation. The ongoing response is to abide in Christ by knowing him better, becoming like him, and reflecting his love.
Because God loves us, we can love him. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). But John continued by saying that our love for God is best expressed in our love for others. “And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1John4:21). When we realize that our need for love and acceptance is fully met in our position as members of God’s family, we are free for the first time to selflessly love others without milking those relationships to get our own needs met. We are free to love others unconditionally because we know we are unconditionally loved by our heavenly Father.
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. I highly recommend a visit to his website, KenBoa.org, which is filled with free videos, written commentary, newsletters, etc.