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Daily Devotion for May 31, 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.
endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.
No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.
Preparation for Prayer
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded.
For with blessings in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to command.
For a Sense of Wonder at God's Creation
Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
To Live in Union with Christ
Loving God, I am just beginning to realize how much you love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. I ask you for the desire to become more humble so that my own life might also bear witness to you. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give you glory.
Please, Lord, guide my mind with your truth. Strengthen my life by the example of Jesus. Help me to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for me. He died so that I would no longer be separated from you. Help me to feel how close you are and to live in union with you.
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
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 89:1-2 (NKJV)
I will sing of the Lord's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Notes on the Scripture
True forgiveness is one of the hardest things in life to do and one of the most important. It is the antidote for the sins of anger and pride. Forgiveness destroys a great barrier that separates us from Christ's grace. Like a muscle, it must be exercised repeatedly, for we will never tire of anger and pride.
orgiveness is an expression of one of the two great commandments of Christ: “Love the Lord with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: Love thy neighbor as thyself.” We remind ourselves of its importance every day, when we pray “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The Lord's prayer was written by Christ Himself, and the prayer to forgive as we are forgiven is a constant reminder of its importance.
This is one act that divides the Christian from the secular world. Society and the media seem obsessed with revenge and justice. By and large, secular society does not ascribe to Christ's commandment. Many Christian doctrines have been secularized by society, but forgiveness is rarely one of them. Every time someone sins against you, hurts you in your earthly life, or offends your pride, you are given an opportunity to show the power of Christ.
We believe that justice belongs to God, not to ourselves. Certainly, the secular law may punish criminals, and most Christians have no problem in seeing that the law is carried out. But we must always be on guard against the trap of the “hanging judge”, a person who has internalized high standards of conduct for himself and therefore becomes even angrier and more vindictive when he sees evil in another. This is a parody of Christianity, held by many non-Christians to be typical and, in truth, occurring often enough in life to worry us.
When evil is done, our starting point must be Christ's commandment to forgive. It is sometimes unbelievably difficult, because people sometimes do terrible things. Drunken drivers run over and kill children. Rebellious teenagers vandalize property. There is nothing evil that can be done, that man will not do. But we must remember that the people who commit these terrible acts are God's children and their souls are not necessarily lost. Our initial reaction must be to remember this and to forgive them in our hearts.