Daily Devotion for April 15, 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 is a soft worship song, despite its title, written and performed by Darlene Zschech. It was a big hit a decade or so back and has a wonderful, cheerful melody you can hum all day long.
Morning Thanks and Praise
I thank You for the temporal blessings of this world — the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers' sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, and friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over.
Do not allow me to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings; Your power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of our Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell's artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!
Prayer for Unity Among Christians
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace to take to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Take away all hate and prejudice.]
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
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.
Galatians 5:22-26 (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Notes on the Scripture
We are something more than halfway through our study of Galatians. Our study has been so nit-picking, it seems like a good idea to step back, from time to time and look at the larger picture. (Plus, I get tired of the sound of my own voice.)
The graphic contains the five main ideas of Galatians as chosen and described by the NIV Quickview Bible. So if we ever find ourselves wondering so what about some specific verse, we can always come back here and try to orient a verse within a general outline.
1. “God's grace is for people of every nation; all are justified by faith.” Paul emphasizes the justified by faith part of this summary, but we must also keep in mind how different Christians might be in every aspect except their acceptance of the Holy Spirit. We have different habits and customs, different languages, often different subsidiary beliefs; but we are nevertheless a single holy priesthood, different from the rest of the world and united by the one important thing in life: our acceptance of the Holy Spirit as the mark of our salvation.
2. “Faith in Christ saves, not following the law.” This would seem to me the topic sentence of Galatians. Here is a good question for contemplation, because there is so much uproar about states and/or the federal government recognizing homosexual marriages: Is it more important for an atheist homosexual to stop having homosexual relations, or to find Christ?
3. “Jesus died to set the people free from lives of sin and bondage.” We hit on this often enough, but it never gets old, does it? What an marvelous, profound act; words cannot describe the love Christ had for us or the depth of gratitude we may enjoy in our prayers. Sweet, good, wonderful Jesus, nailed to a cross to die in torture and forgiving us, not only for His murder, but for any sin we might commit.
4. “The Spirit, rather than the law, empowers believers to live holy lives.” I might have posed the food-for-thought about homosexuals too early in the list, as this powerful idea speaks to the dilemma. It also raises a vexing conundrum we will study at length: Why do Christians continue to sin?
5. “Those who are filled with the Spirit live for God rather than themselves.” This is easy enough to say; and yet, who do I know who seems to live for God rather than himself or herself? Pride seems endemic among Christians, leaders and followers alike. Can we try, by our efforts, to turn more of our lives over to the Spirit? Here we can look to today's verse, for by our fruits we are known: Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.