Daily Devotion for June 12, 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.
The moving Sabbath Prayer from “Fiddler on the Roof”, where Tevye and Golde pray for the future of their unmarried daughters. This is sung at supper on Friday, the start of the Sabbath.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer to Gain and Share Wisdom
Lord, there is so much that I don't know, and I ask you to inspire me with a thirst for knowledge. I pray, too, for wisdom and understanding that I may use my knowledge well. I give thanks for many people I have never met whose knowledge and understanding have been passed on to me. I ask that I may benefit from their work and experience and may contribute, in turn, to the well-being of others.
[May I use my knowledge well.]
And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus 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 5:13-15 (Daily Prayer Bible)
13-15 Relish your freedom, but remember, your freedom in Christ is not a license to indulge your instincts. In particular, stop all the backbiting that is going on. What you bite, you consume, and what you consume, you destroy. So backbiting can only lead to mutual destruction. Instead, you must love and serve one another, for the entire law was fulfilled in this one teaching: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers; only do not use your freedom as a foundation pLiterally base of operations, used originally in connection with an army. for fleshly acts, but rather for serving one another through love.
14 For the entire law was fulfilled in one teaching, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 Do you not see q Or Look out, Beware., that if you engage in biting and devouring rThe Greek syntax (“first class condition”) might imply that this is actually occurring, and the context supports the implication. Paul thinks they are already engaging in this behavior, at least to some degree, and wants them to stop. each other, you destroy rThe tense here is aorist, which unlike the present does not present their destruction as an ongoing process, but rather as a single “consummative” act. sOr consumed, which continues the biting and eating metaphor. Destroyed is a decent translation, but there are other words for destroy in Greek, and this one is used of animals eating one another or fires destroying a building by consuming it in flame. This shades the meaning: they are spending so much time arguing that they do not have time for godly tasks, and that the bitter feelings from their arguments might ultimately destroy their goodness. one another?
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
Sense, Nonsense, and Salvation (Galatians #59)
There is an apparent contradiction between the clear message Paul has given us in the first four chapters of Galatians and his admonitions to moral conduct in chapters 5 and 6. On the one hand, we can no longer follow the law, in the sense that we cannot depend upon it to make us righteous before God. On the other hand, he now tells us that we cannot follow the impulses of the flesh. He cites or even creates rules of conduct and clearly expects that we will conform ourselves to them.
t no point is there more tension between these two poles than when he tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves because this is “the fulfillment of the law.” Having told us that the law will not save us, that it is slavery, he now demands that we obey it! But he is not contradicting himself. The law was not destroyed. Just as Christ said, He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17-20)
Our freedom is not freedom from the Law, but freedom from complying with the Law in order to become righteous in God’s eyes. The purpose of the Law was to show us our sin and the impossibility of freeing ourselves from sin, and thus prepare us to understand the necessity of Christ. But the Law did, in the process, show us what is sinful, and if we love Christ, we will want to avoid sin like the plague. We will hate our sin, because we have learned to love true goodness by witnessing the human incarnation of perfect good: Jesus Christ.
Some Christians picture this as a narrow path between conservative moralism, or legalism, and liberal or pagan permissiveness. It might be better, however, to view it as a spiritual state that has risen above both moralism and permissiveness. Christ gives us our freedom only when we are ready for it: when we have learned to hate our sin. We are then freed from fear.
If we should tell a lie today — and many of us will — we do not fear being cast off from God. If we should look at pornography or commit adultery — or even murder somebody — we do not thereby put ourselves permanently and irrevocably beyond the salvation that Christ brought to us. As John puts it:
In logical terms, John is speaking in double-talk. If we love Christ we will keep His commandments. If we say we know him and do not keep his commandments, we are lying; but if we break one of His commandments, He will forgive us, because we know him. This states a logical contradiction that cannot be resolved intellectually.
Paul tackles the issue head-on in 1 Corinthians 1. The power of the cross defies logic and defies strength. Paul explicitly calls Christianity “foolishness”, and this is exactly what he means. Just as our deeds cannot save us, our intellects cannot save us. We cannot know God by our thoughts or by our deeds, but only by the Holy Spirit, who transcends both.
In a word, Christianity does not make sense. If it made sense, we would not need faith. Those who demand that it make sense are assuming, implicity, that their intellect is perfect and capable of knowing the truth. What Paul teaches us is just the opposite. Just as Christ transcended the human concept of strength by becoming weak, He transcended the human concept of wisdom by acting foolish. Indeed, who could possibly be stupid enough to hand himself over to torture and crucifixion for no logical reason?