Daily Devotion for February 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.
Saturday is Oldies Day, and I know some of you can probably remember what a big star Tennessee Ernie Ford was. This is a great old hymn, filled with spirit and emotion, but rarely heard today.
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
Prayer for Morning
Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praises; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.
Prayer to Put My Trust in Christ
Oh Holy Christ, Son of God and King of all humanity, I bring to you my hurts, my fears, my disappointments; I am filled with worries about my health, about money, about my place in the world, and about the health and safety of my loved ones. The struggles, the cruelties, and the tribulations of this life sometimes seem unfair and overwhelming. I cannot handle them alone, my Lord; I lay them at your feet.
You have promised to shoulder our burdens, Lord Jesus, and I am taking you up on your promise. I give myself to you, with all my emotional baggage. Teach me to lean upon you, to trust you, to know that in your ultimate victory, all of my fears will prove illusory, and my pains, short-lived.
Do not leave me to suffer alone, Lord; do not turn your face away. Forgive me my every sin and take me to your bosom, for I am your child and I know you love me. This I pray in your name, whose every word is truth,
Father, I ask you to help me to be generous when I think of the attitude and actions of others. Forgiving someone isn't an easy option, and I know that forgiveness isn't somehow pretending that something wrong hasn't happened. For what I have done wrong, forgive me Father. Let me remember your words, that as we forgive others, so shall we be forgiven, and to live in obedience to your word.
[Being generous in assessing other people.]
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.
Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.
Ephesians 1: 5-12 (ESV)
Praise His Glory
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Notes on the Scripture
Being a good month into the New Year at this point, most people are trying to get their lives in order for the coming year. Some of us have specific New Year's resolutions — some of which are already petering out at this point! — some people just intend to do generally better; but at this time of year, almost everyone has some sense of things they want to accomplish, problems they want to handle, etc.
When we do this, it is well also to reflect on how much we have been given. It is a good time to back away from our lives for a minute and think about what is important. Because if we do, no matter how many problems we have, we can put our problems in the perspective.
Everyone has problems. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to be somebody else for a day? I think most of us would choose somebody younger, richer, thinner, better-looking, smarter, or having other aspects of their life free of what we perceive to be worldly problems or shortcomings that make us suffer. But what would be most interesting would be to see how burdened they are with their own problems.
We might be surprised, stepping into the life of a multimillionaire, how much pain they are feeling from a child with behavior problems or who despises and rejects them, or from a parent who is critical of them. Or if we choose to be that slender beautiful teenager for a day, how crushed they are feeling about not getting into the college they wanted, or the confusion and anxiety they feel about their future. If we live life in the shoes of the successful young attorney, perhaps his girlfriend is pregnant, or he is feeling tremendous pressure to work even harder and is getting an ulcer. We do not feel, or often even see, other people's problems.
ut there is one thing we know for certain: "God destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." We are destined to be God's children by our faith in Jesus Christ. The one critical problem has been solved. It is a problem we do not have. Our sins and our failures have already been erased by the exercise of the greatest power in the universe, the infinite grace that has been "lavished upon us". Does Bill Gates have 50 billion dollars in U.S. currency? You have 50 billion plus one dollars in heavenly currency, and there is nothing outside of you that can make it disappear, and you are never going to lose one penny of it; even death cannot steal your salvation.
Do 20 million people know and admire Oprah Winfrey? The angels don't watch television. Who would you rather have love you, 20 million fickle mortal tv watchers, or God's heavenly host? Would you rather have the maitre d' at a snooty restaurant fawn over you, or have an infinitely powerful God ready to welcome you with endless love?
We have everything we need stored up for our future. Our problems are temporary, but the fullness of God's grace is permanent. How lucky we are not to be somebody else!