Daily Devotion for August 19, 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.
A Latin/English Gloria with a Brazilian Samba flavor? Only the BTC!
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
To Help Others with Their Faith
Lord, I am so full of doubt and sin that I sometimes forget: There is always someone weaker in their faith than I am, some brother or sister whom I can help, someone I can support and lift up in their journey. I pray that I might be aware that my fellow saints may need encouragement and that I be qualified to give it. Let me not be critical or judgmental, but supportive and helpful to those struggling.
And I pray, let me always remember that someone might be hiding a struggle, a fear, a sorrow; let me offer words of encouragement and support freely. Let me remember that there are people who hide their insecurity behind a wall of serenity, or defensiveness, or even antagonism, to whom a word of support might make a world of difference.
In Christ's name, I pray,
[People who look happy on the outside can be miserable.]
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 17:24 (NKJV)
A Light to the Nations
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:
I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.
See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.
Notes on the Scripture
Isaiah here gives a great poetic tribute to Christ. His words are equally applicable to the Hebrews and to Christ's disciples. If you read the passage with the thought that he is talking about Christ, Israel, Paul, or yourself, it makes sense.
The third paragraph is something that has confounded people for thousands of years. Many Hebrews expected that their Messiah would come with a sword; the appearance and divinity of Jesus was a shock to them. He preached a doctrine of peace and humility. He did not raise armies to conquer by force; instead, he submitted to force and, even in death, conquered the world by truth and goodness.
The battle continues to rage in our lifetime, as it has since Christ's ascension. We are torn between two mighty forces. One is the law of nature, the survival of the fittest. It teaches us to build weapons, fight and kill if necessary, to promote ourselves and make our abilities and accomplishments as public as possible. Few people are humble on television. The world preaches its doctrine in the language of anger and pride.
The other is the law of God, the survival of the meek, whom Jesus promised would inherit the earth. It tells us not to "cry or lift up [our] voice, or make it heard in the street." We should be so gentle that we would not even break the most fragile thing possible, which Isaiah calls "a bruised reed".
There have been people with the strength of faith to practice this doctrine in life. Quakers would die before they would go to war, even refusing to defend themselves. But very few can live lives of pacifism. People don't want to die; they don't want to be conquered by other nations; they don't want to be walked over during their lives by people of less ability and fewer scruples.
We must do the best we can with this. If you ever begin to feel self-righteous, like you are a paragon of Christian virtue, just ask yourself if you have followed this, the hardest of all the Bible's teachings.
When others assault you, physically or verbally, do you turn the other cheek? When someone sues you for your shirt, do you give him your cloak as well? Or do you hire a lawyer and defend your property? We all sin and fall short of the glory of God; but we can at least be truthful with ourselves about where we have fallen short and confess our shortcomings, rather than pretending they don't exist.