Daily Devotion for July 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.
Praise and Thanks this Morning
Hallelujah! The sun has risen again and it is morning! And I have awoken into it, alive, breathing, thinking, knowing that the Son will rise again and I will be saved. What did I do to deserve this day? It is a gift from you. Glory and praise to you, my God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for filling me with life to live another day, for it is you who made me and not me myself.
I resolve to spend this day in the presence of the Holy Spirit, filled with his joy and energy, that I might accomplish your will, my God, and do what I can to deserve the joys of the day, for I know my time here is short. Be with me, oh Holy Spirit, to fill me with the energy and positivity and comfort that only you can bring. In Christ's name I pray that thy will be done,
To Treat Others as I Would Be Treated
Lord, while I pray for peace and goodwill in our world, I ask you to help me to change my own attitude for the better, so that peace and goodwill may start with the way I behave towards those who have hurt me. Inspire me to be as generous to others as I would like them to be with me.
[The terror of war and the beauty of peace.]
Let me not forget my prayers as I go out into the world. Holy Spirit, be with me, and let me praise you and remember you in my every action and thought, for the entire day long. In Christ's name I ask this,
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.
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
James 2:1-5 (ESV)
Gold Rings and Fine Clothes
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
Notes on the Scripture
Often you hear (or say) "cleanliness is next to godliness", but support for the proposition is mixed in the Bible and Christianity. Like so many attitudes, the saying is more an attempt to use the power of the Bible to support a personal bias than a real attempt to define our conduct by the Word of God. In short, "cleanliness is next to godliness" is something that should not be said, because it is an attempt to put our words in God's mouth.
Early Christians, especially the very fervent, often took to the countryside and refused some form of personal hygiene or adornment. St. Francis of Assisi, for example, who was due to inherit considerable worldly goods, renounced all of it, including the clothing; he went barefoot. John the Baptist would have been kicked out of any restaurant in New York. The Bible is filled with instances where the holiest of men would eschew cleanliness.
On the other hand, nothing in the Bible forbids bathing, or (in the New Testament) shaving, or any basic hygience. Christ and His disciples, we know, washed their feet at the end of the day. We have just seen that Exodus prescribed certain ritual handwashing for priests, and that God required the Hebrews to bathe and launder their clothes before giving them the Ten Commandments.
But all in all, when one looks to the Bible instead of one's prejudices for guidance, there is nothing that equates personal hygiene with spiritual growth. Like our occupation or politics, it is a matter of the world and has nothing to do with godliness. And using the Bible to further our personal agenda leads us away from Christ, not towards Him.
here does come a point where concern with personal adornment becomes an area of sinfulness, and one rarely hears it discussed. Vanity is a powerful urge, the servant of mighty Pride, king of the deadly sins. The fashion industry is a testament to the power of vanity; even worse, its adherents are ludicrously convinced of its importance. Cosmetic surgery has become a flourishing business.
It is hard to resist. Even if you personally don't have a great problem with appearances, living in a culture where the importance of fashion and appearance goes uncontrolled presents a powerful force to comply. The Amish will tell a woman, by way of compliment, "you look very plain today"; they take a lack of personal vanity as a sign of devotion, and the culture supports minimalizing pride in appearance in favor of pursuing rewards of the Spirit.
It is often hard to grasp how non-Christian society is, even in "Christian" countries. In the matter of dress and appearance, even sincere Christians will make compromises and rationalize conduct and beliefs that damage their faith. This is not to say we may not dress nicely or buy a new car. It is to say, rather, that this is a good area of meditation and prayer. When we feel called to examine our sins or to make a decision about buying something, we need to examine our conduct and attitudes about spending time and money to glorify our own pride.