Daily Devotion for June 24, 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 haunting Orthodox anthem comes from the Valaam Brethren, a monastary in northern Russia. I think the bond between these monks and the child in the redwood forest makes a thought-provoking comparison.
Rejoice, O song of Cherubim.
Rejoice, O hymn of angels.
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim,
the joy of the archangels.
Rejoice, O peace and happiness
the harbor of salvation.
O sacred chamber of the Word
flower of incorruption,
Rejoice, delightful paradise
of blessed life eternal.
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life
the fount of immortality.
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
For Open Eyes
Lord Jesus, light of the world, open my eyes to notice the magnificence of creation. Open my eyes that I may always value and appreciate all who are part of my life. Open my eyes that I may be quick to notice when people are going through difficulties. Open my eyes so that I share your vision and see truly and deeply, outside of myself.
Prayer of Thanks (from 1 Cor. 2)
Mighty Lord, there are marvelous things that I do not know, nor can I comprehend: things that happen in my life, and things that happen in my friends’ lives, and things that happen in the world. I pray to be thankful when I hear of all of them, to appreciate everything that comes across my path. So often life hurts, and I get angry or upset; I do not understand, yet you ask me to be thankful for everything, and have faith.
So I thank you now, Lord, for all those occasions when I have forgotten or have been so caught up in emotions that I could not. Help me to be thankful, I pray, when the rains come on the just and the unjust, that you care so much about me, that the rains come to chasten, to build character and godliness in me. And help me to live as a mirror of your Son, so that I might reach others.
[The magnificence of God’s creation.]
And finally, may the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father's boundless love, with the Holy Spirit's favor, rest upon me, and all of us, from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
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.
The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
Genesis 9:8-16 (ESV)
Noah and the Rainbow
God spoke to Noah and his sons, telling them: “Behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your children after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth. I establish this covenant with all that come out of the ark: never will all flesh be cut off again by floodwaters, and there will never again be a flood to destroy the entire earth. Here is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations; it is a rainbow, which I have set in the clouds, as the symbol of my promise.”
“I put my rainbow in the clouds, and it will remind you of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring a cloud over the earth, and a rainbow is visible in the cloud, I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature; and the waters will never more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
Notes on the Scripture
We have a guest commentary today. This is from Charles Spurgeon's Morning & Evening
“Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the peculiar possession of the Lord's people, and them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon Him.
When man was unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence.
In the day of universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose.
At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that His words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of His word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of His grace, which is a haven of delight.
More highly favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of His people, and when we draw near to Him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to Him to be the return of peace to our spirits.”
The language is a bit old, but to summarize Spurgeon's beautiful prose in a nutshell: God gave us a perfect place to live, and we messed it up. But in all the wrath He visited on the evil of the earth, He has always protected His people. Like Noah's family on the ark or the Hebrews in Egypt, God's grace shelters those who have taken His son into their hearts, with a spiritual shelter that no force on earth can invade or harm.
I hope everyone will read through this until they can get the full beauty and meaning of his short sermon.