Daily Devotion for August 10, 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.
Lord of eternity,
Blessed is the man
Who walks in Your favor,
Who loves all Your words,
And hides them like treasure
In the darkest place
Of his desperate heart.
They are a light
A strong, sure light.
Sometimes I call out Your name
But I cannot find You;
I look for Your face
But You are not there.
By my sorrows, Lord
Lift me to You;
Lift me to Your side.
Lord of eternity,
Father of mercy,
Look on my fainting soul.
Keeper of all the stars,
Friend of the poorest heart,
Touch me and make me whole.
If You are my defender,
Who is against me?
No one can trouble or harm me
If You are my strength.
All I ask, all I desire
Is to live in Your house all my days.
Music and Lyrics by Juan F. Ortega/ John Andrew Schriener
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy: Above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
[Learning to be patient under my afflictions.]
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his 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.
Men Mighty in Prayer
“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer.”
~ E. M. Bounds
Galatians 5:19-21 (Daily Prayer Bible)
19-21, 26 You know perfectly well what I mean when I speak of indulging the “desires of the flesh”: things like sexual immorality, impurity of mind, indecency, worship of false gods, witchcraft, hatred, quarrelling, jealousy, bad temper, rivalry, factionalism, carousing, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like that. None of us should be ambitious for our own reputation, or seek our own glory, or indulge our vanity; such motives just make us jealous of one another. As I have told you before, those who indulge the desires of the flesh will never inherit God’s kingdom.
19 Now, the works of the flesh are well-known, including fornication, impurity, indecent conduct,
20 idolatry, making potions, hostilities, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, factionalism, dogma,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things, which I warn you about now just as I warned you before: those practicing such acts will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
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
God's injunction against idolatry is well-known, for it is one of the ten commandments. Most often, in modern churches, it is used as a general metaphor for materialism. We can think of our attachment to our car, our house, or our bank account as worship, and indeed, one of the great challenges of Christianity is to put Christ ahead of the human urge for acquisition and control of the physical universe.
This would seem to dovetail nicely with Paul’s characterization of idolatry as a “work of the flesh”. But let’s back up a bit and then come at it from a different angle. Paul was really not talking about loving one’s bank account. Both he and Christ attacked the love of worldly goods directly, not by metaphor. Few people literally worship money; we might put it at the front of our lives, but this is atheism or sinfulness, not the creation of a god-idol. We don’t actually ascribe supernatural power to money, or give it a spiritual significance.
One place we see something closer to actual idolatry, today, is nature-worship. In extreme cases, such as some branches of Wicca, a formal religion is cobbled together and worship services are held, usually to a goddess of some sort. Gaia — a literal pagan goddess, the goddess of Earth — predominates.
More often, one sees a sort of diffuse spirituality engrafted onto the natural world. While not a formal religion, many people find a spiritual presence in Nature. There are people who will actually hug trees and claim a spiritual experience from it; they tread close to the Druids, who considered oak trees to be divinities. (The Druids also burned people alive in baskets suspended over fires of oak wood; but considering how many people have been burned alive in the name of Christ, one hesitates to point fingers.)
The closest thing to actual idolatry among more Biblical Christians, today, would probably be the honoring of national flags, at least in churches. Modern conservative Protestantism hardly invented this: Constantine was probably the first political leader to co-opt Christianity, put Christian emblems on the shields of his soldiers, and proceed to kill hundreds of thousands in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
This is another difficult area of the Bible for me, personally. I am by nature patriotic; I volunteered to serve in the Army in the Viet Nam War. Yet when we hang a flag in church and sing hymns about it, how can it not taint our worship of God? Nobody could possibly believe that their nation is holy, at least in this day and age, or that their allegiance to a human political institution stands on their same footing as their faith in God. “Our citizenship is in heaven . . . .” (Phillipians 3:20)