Daily Devotion for May 29, 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 video came without identifying the choir or church, which would seem to be in the British Isles somewhere. The hymn is set to a traditional Irish melody. Delightful.
1. Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
2. Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
3. Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
4. Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
Traditional Irish Tune
Lyrics by Jan Struther, 1931
Prayer to Address God with My Heart (inspired by Jane Austen)
Give me grace Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address you with my heart, as with my lips. You are everywhere present, from you no secret can be hidden. May the knowledge of this, teach me to fix my thoughts on you, with reverence and devotion, that I may not pray in vain.
May I now, and on each return of morning, consider how I will spend the day ahead; what thoughts will prevail in my mind? What words will I speak? Will my actions reflect your will, or my own? How far can I acquit myself of evil, and live in the goodness and beauty of my Lord Christ?
Will I think irreverently of you? Will I disobey your commandments? Will I neglect and make excuses for any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline me to ask my heart these questions oh! God, throughout the day, to save me from deceiving myself by pride or vanity.
And give me always a thankful sense of the blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear me almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.
For Those in Financial Difficulty
Lord God, I remember and pray for all those suffering severe financial problems; the unemployed, the homeless, the bankrupt, the hungry, and those in desperate fear of such problems. If it is your will, I pray that they can find a way out of their difficulties, into financial stability.
May I never close my eyes to them. And may your Holy Spirit be with them, to comfort and lift them up in Spirit, that they might never despair, but find total joy in the promise of the life to come.
[May I find total joy in the promise of the life to come.]
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip us with every good thing that we may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
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.
Psalm 12:1-4 (NKJV)
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
Galatians 5:1-6 (Daily Prayer Bible)
1 Stand fast in the freedom that Christ won for us; do not let yourselves be shackled back into the yoke of slavery.
2-4 I have said it before and I will say it again: if you become circumcised as a sign of reliance upon the Law, Christ becomes useless to you. You obligate yourself to follow the Law perfectly, and you will fail. You cannot be justified before God by the Law; if you try, you sever yourself from Christ and His grace.
5-6 But we, who have faith by the Spirit, have hope of righteousness. It is by love, not by law, that we receive and express our faith. If you understand this, you will see that circumcision and uncircumcision are meaningless to those who have the love of Christ.
1 To aOr for freedom. freedom us Christ freed; stand firm therefore and not again to yoke of slavery be subject.
2 Behold I Paul tell you that if you be circumcised Christ you nothing will benefit.
3 And I testify furthermore to every man being-circumcised b Although there is no grammatical clue, this cannot apply to Jews circumcised before conversion; thus either becoming circumcised or being one of those who rely on circumcision. that obligated he is entire law to do c Idiom, to accomplish, to follow/obey..
4 You are-cut-off dAlthough the tense of this verb (and the following verbs in the verse), called the aorist indicative, generally refers to an event in the past, it may be read as a discontinuous present or, as here, possibly a timeless statement. from Christ whoever by law is justified e Both the context and the Greek “middle voice” affect the meaning; the best idiomatic translation might be “whoever attempts to gain justification for himself by law”., of grace you fall away.
5 For we in fAmbiguous. This could indicate the form or medium by which hope comes to us, in spirit, that is, spiritually (as opposed to intellectually, physically, etc.); or from (the) spirit, in which case it would indicate the Holy Spirit as the personal agent bringing hope to us. spirit by faith hope of righteousness g This difficult jumble of words is best explained by the Greek habit of using an “of” phrase (genitive case) following a “verbal noun” – a verbal noun being a noun made from a verb, like “hope” – as if the verbal noun retains the sense of a verb and the “of” phrase is its direct object. A decent English equivalent would be an adverbial phrase, “hoping-for righteousness”. (“Hope” is in the form of a direct object, but it is not unknown for words in this form to be used adverbially, especially as adverbs of manner. See Wallace at 200-201.) await eagerly.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision anything effects h Notice the English verb “effect” means to achieve a result. nor uncircumcision, but faith through love working.
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. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
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
The Symbol without Meaning  (Galatians #55)
. . . continued from yesterday.
What does all of this business about circumcision, and the critical importance of the symbol, have to do with us today? For while Paul tells us that circumcision is basically meaningless to those who love Christ, in the Western culture of the 21st century, circumcision is meaningless to everybody, whether they love Christ or not.
he difference lies not in the act of minor surgery, but in what it symbolizes: Reliance upon the Law of Moses for our salvation. It is much like what Paul tells us about eating food that has been sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 8. A Christian can eat such meat without any fear, for the god to which it was sacrificed does not exist and has no power to bless or taint the meat. But to take part in the ceremony and eat such meat, believing it to have some sort of power, would be blasphemy.
Just so with circumcision. It is meaningless. But the belief system underlying ceremonial circumcision constitutes a rejection of Christ. And this belief system is very much alive, and it tempts us and infects Christian churches relentlessly. A good general term for it is “legalism.”
The law has taught us what is sinful and what is good; that was its purpose. And we try not to sin, and we assist and encourage our fellow Christians not to sin, out of our love for God. But avoiding sin cannot save us; it cannot make us righteous before God. Legalism does not mean discovering what is sinful and avoiding it: it means, rather, believing that avoiding sin and living in piety and purity is the aim of our faith. If we do this, we trust in ourselves, in our ability to be perfect. And, Paul tells us, we sever ourselves from Christ.
Christ is our entire salvation. We cannot add to Christ; if we try to add to Christ, we eliminate Christ. There are no two ways about it. Christ is all our hope, or He has no value.
Where we often see this in today's Church is in a move from amoral liberalism to moral conservativism. This has nothing to do with politics; Christ has no interest in politics. (Besides which, we find plenty of “amoral liberalism” among Republicans/Tories and plenty of “moral conservatism” among Democrats/Liberals/Socialists). It is, rather, a matter of seeing morality as the source of our salvation and believing that we might save other human beings by persuading them to become more moral. Moral beliefs and moral actions will not save us and they will not save others.
Thus, “circumcision”, as the term is used in Galatians 5, means exactly this: Relying on morality rather than forgiveness for our justification before God. Salvation is given as a gift, not a reward; it is accepted, not earned; it is prepaid with the blood of Jesus Christ.