Daily Devotion for May 1, 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.
defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head surrounded
with mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrow mars thy grandeur?
Can death thy bloom deflower?
O countenance whose splendor
the hosts of heaven adore!
In thy most bitter passion
my heart to share doth cry,
with thee for my salvation
upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
to stand thy cross beneath,
to mourn thee, well-beloved,
yet thank thee for thy death.
My days are few, O fail not,
with thine immortal power,
to hold me that I quail not
in death's most fearful hour;
that I may fight befriended,
and see in my last strife
to me thine arms extended
upon the cross of life.
Tune by Hans Leo Hassler (1600)
Arr. Johann Sebastian Bach
Translation by Robert Bridges (1899)
Prayer to Hear God’s Word
Dear God, there is only one voice that is perfect truth, and that is yours: the voice of your Spirit and the voice of your Word. Help me, I pray, to hear your voice clearly. For I tend to lose it in the cacophony. I am filled with the sound of my own voice, with the sense of my importance and the correctness of my thought; and on top of that, I am besieged by dozens and hundreds and thousands of words and voices telling me all kinds of things.
Lead me to read your Word without listening to any voice but yours. Let me hear your truth and read your Word without adding to it or subtracting from it, without twisting it to meet the demands of my own preconceptions. Let me not deny your Word because it is inconvenient for me; even if I cannot follow it today, let me know the truth. Where your teaching and my thoughts conflict, help me to change. Help me to set aside my prejudice, my illusions of knowledge, my rationalizations, so that I can learn; and even if I do not follow your Word perfectly, let me know where to ask forgiveness. This I ask in the name of my only Savior, Jesus Christ,
For Peace of Mind
Blessed Lord Jesus, I need you now because I am filled with stress and anxiety. But you have promised that if I read and remember your Word, and come to you in prayer, your Holy Spirit will come to me. I lay my burdens on you, precious Christ, as you have promised to take them. Please carry them for me so that I don't have to, for they overwhelm me. Replace my fears with your humble and gentle yoke, so that I will find rest for my soul today. Let me feel your love.
I accept the peace of mind and quietness of heart, which you offer to all men as a gift. My praise and thanks that it is possible for me to lie down this evening in peace, and find the rest of sleep, by your gift. For with you, I have faith that I dwell in perfect safety. What should I fear, when you have promised to be with me for all time? I pray that I can find your perfect peace, by your Word and your promise, this day and every day, until I see you face to face.
[I lay my burdens upon Christ.]
May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth.
~ Frederick Buechner
Galatians 4:12-18 (Daily Prayer Bible)
12-14 I was ill when I first came to you to preach the Gospel, but you bore my infirmity with me. Instead of losing patience, you welcomed me like an angel of God, like Christ Himself. I think you would have torn out your own eyes and given them to me, if you could.
15-17 What has become of your blessed devotion? Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? These so-called evangelists certainly are not telling the truth. They seek prestige, not goodness. They strive to separate you from the saints so that you will be their followers.
18 To strive is good when you strive for goodness.
15 Therefore where the blessedness r Or blessing. of you? For I witness in s Or testify about, or testify to. you that if possible the eyes of you digging out you gave to me t The odd use of the simple past (aorist) indicative here, “you gave me” (instead of “would have given me”) might be construed to add to the certainty of the result: you certainly would have given to me. .
16 And so enemy of you I became telling-truth to you?
17 They zealously court you not goodly u This Greek adverbial form of “good” has no precise English equivalent. Our primary adverbial form of “good” is “well”, which generally focuses on (or at least includes) the notion of how effectively or successfully something is done. The Greek adverb here, however, addresses only the goodness of the intended outcome. The false prophets might be courting the Galatians “well”, in the sense that they are effectively converting them, but they are not courting them “goodly”, because the motive or outcome is not good. , but to exclude you they want, that them you seek.
18 And good to be striving for good always, and not only when present me with you,
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Very often, verses are out of order or explanatory material is inserted that seems to be implied, but is not spelled out, in the Greek.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
Do You Hate Me for Telling the Truth? (Galatians #46)
. . . cont'd from yesterday.
In the preceding verses, Paul spoke of the enormous love and devotion the early Galatian converts showed to him and to each other. Now, he has gotten word — we don't know exactly how — that they have turned away from the gospel he taught them, and have begun to listen to the gospel of Judaizers - people who preach that, to be saved by Christ, the Galatians must follow the Law of Moses. In this section, Paul takes it personally. He appears to abandon logic and to appeal, instead, to their feelings. As Diana Ross might have put it, “Baby, where did our love go?”
But unlike the Supremes’ song, Paul’s appeal is not purely emotional, for Christian love is not simply an emotion. Love of one another is a commandment of Christ. It is obedient and spiritual. (John 13:34-35)
Thus when Paul raises the question, “Why do you not love me as before?” he puts the Galatians in a logical bind. Have they abandoned Christ's commandment of love as part of their new beliefs? And then he asks the great, penetrating question of modern Christianity: Why do we hate those who tell the truth?
major obstacle to the growth of Christian faith is our innate tendency to confuse popularity with truth. First, we tend to believe people we like — people who have charisma. We often listen to the person more than to the message. Second, we tend to think that the majority is correct. This is a natural herd instinct that has become even more powerful recently, with the advent of democracy as a political ethic. Third, by our nature, we attempt to impose the values of secular society on the Bible; if we think something is “right”, we assume that we will find it in the Bible.
But this is a poison cocktail. Charisma is not a guide to the truth; the truth cannot be changed by majority opinion; and democracy is not a Biblical value. We might value democracy, especially in its pure sense as a form of government, but it is an ethical issue only in the secular arena of politics, which has almost nothing to do with God. How we personally treat other people, on the other hand, is a fundamental Biblical value. God enjoins us to compassion, love, humility, and forgiveness. But we must never confuse the realm of earthly power, where popularity reigns supreme, with the realm of ultimate power, where truth reigns — no matter how unpopular it be.
Where in the Bible do we see this? The first person who comes to mind is Noah. One man, on the entire earth, was right about the most basic issue in life. He was outvoted 10,000,000 to 1. On a ballot, he would seem like one of those nut-cases who writes in his own name in a presidential election. But the one was right, and the millions were wrong, and look at what happened: God destroyed the entire population of earth and only Noah, the apparent nut-case, survived.
Paul asks, “Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” We learn, in life, not to speak the truth in some situations because people will hate us for it. People would rather hear a comforting lie than a difficult truth. And, this is fine and good, if the difficult truth is that the person has an ugly face, or was born with a mental defect, or is wearing ugly clothes.
But the truth about Christ is not a matter of social nicety; it is a matter of eternal life or death. Our treatment of God's Word as if it a) must not offend anyone, and b) is subject to popular referendum, puts us in precisely the shoes of Noah's fellow citizens. Why have so many people and so many churches fallen prey to the “liberal theology” movement? Exactly because they fail to realize the fixed, eternal, and undeniable nature of God's Word.
These are the first matters taken up in the Psalms, for we see them in Psalms 1 and 2. “The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed . . . .” (Ps. 2:2)
We cannot change the world. We can spread the Gospel — we are commanded to spread the Gospel — but we cannot force others to change. We cannot make anyone accept Christ. We can only change ourselves. We can strive, every day, to a clearer understanding of what the Bible tells us. And every one of us must try to listen to those who tell us things we do not want to hear, and test their words against Scripture rather than our own ideas. We should at least consider that they might be right.