Daily Devotion for July 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.
Lyrics by Horatius Bonar, 1808-1899
Music by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I'll walk
Till traveling days are done.
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the previous week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Prayer of Praise
O Father, majestic is you name! From the rising of the sun to its setting your name is to be praised, Merciful God, gracious Lord. Hear us in the name of Your Son, For He has promised that where two or three of us are gathered in Your name He would be with us and our prayer would be heard. Hear us in the name of Your Son, For He is the revelation of Your wisdom, the outpouring of your glory, The incarnation of your mercy toward us and the whole human race. To You be the glory, All praise and honor, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, now and evermore.
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls on this planet among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 22:22-24 (NIV)
I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
Ephesians 4:1,11-16 (NIV)
Our Role in Christ's Church
To each one of us grace was given according to the nature of Christ's gift.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, when we become mature, attaining the whole measure of Christ.
As a result, we are no longer to act like children, tossed here and there by waves and blown around by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness or deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, Christ himself.
The body is held together by every joint and ligament, each of them supplying a needed role; and thus Christ has appointed the growth of the body, building itself up in love.
Notes on the Scripture
The critical part of this passage is the first few words: "To each one of us grace was given." Christ did not leave anyone without some work to do on earth.
Our natural inclination as human beings, living in a society, is to value people according to some scale of importance. The talented, the highly visible, the televised, the quoted . . . in fact, in the media, a cult of celebrity has sprung up, comprised of people whose only claim to fame is that they are famous.
But it is illusory, and erroneous. Your work for Christ, whatever it may be, is as important as anyone's. The eyes that matter are the eyes of God, not those of the local news anchor, or a local gossip, or an applauding audience. God sees what you do and approves your mission in Christ, whether you lead millions or perform an uncredited small kindness to a stranger. Our roles stem from the nature of the gift given to us by Christ, not from some inherent degree of greatness in which we may glory or feel humiliation. "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
Churches can easily fall into this error, for we seek by our nature a leader. But although pastors and bishops may be critically important the the earthly church, they are not greater in the eyes of God than food service workers, or the funny-looking guy in the corner with his head lowered. It is a mistake to fix our gaze upon a human being; we must remember always to fix our gaze on Christ, and to love and value ourselves and all of our brothers and sisters, no matter how humble or exalted our contribution to the body of Christ may seem in earthly terms.