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Daily Devotion for September 2, 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.
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?
2. Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
3. Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new —
4. A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.
Music by George D. Pyper
Lyrics by Joseph Fielding Smith
Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy, be there at my waking, and give me, I pray, your bliss in my heart, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, be there at my labors, and give me, I pray, your strength in my heart, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, be there at my homing, and give me, I pray, your love in my heart, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at my sleeping, and give me, I pray, your peace in my heart, Lord, at the end of the day.
Prayer of Thanks for This Life
O God in heaven, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now your love has illumined my path and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give you thanks for every step of my life's journey, together with all who have come to know you, who call upon your name. All glory be to you, O God, from age to age,
[God’s love lights my path to heaven.]
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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.
Psalm 119:157-160 (NKJV)
Many persecute and trouble me,
yet I have not swerved from your laws.
Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart,
because they care nothing for your word.
See how I love your commandments, Lord.
Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
The very essence of your words is truth;
all your just regulations will stand forever.
How a Christian Should Live
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.
But now you must get rid of all such things-- anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Notes on the Scripture
I remember a coach once telling us the secret to playing great baseball. There is no secret. You win games with "basics and execution".
Today's lesson reminds me of what he said. There isn't much mystery to what Paul is saying and it really doesn't need a lot of commentary. There is no deep theological web of thought to untangle, no hidden meaning, nothing unclear. It is a matter of basics and execution.
If you want to follow the path of Christ, what you should do is fairly easy to state. Don't act out of anger. Don't use abusive language. Be kind. Be humble. And so on — every one of us has a pretty good idea, in theory, of how Christ wants us to behave. The problem, of course, comes when we try to actually do it in our daily lives, because our old nature is very strong and often pulls us in the opposite direction.
So it is always helpful to read this passage and try to set our day's thoughts and actions up against it. This makes for a very good meditation at the end of the day. The most frequent means of avoiding Christian duty is by lying to ourselves and getting confused. If somebody has offended us, for example, our urge to be angry and to get revenge, or at least to nurture our resentment, is powerful! We first try to ignore our Christian duty, and then, find a hundred excuses and rationalizations why we should not follow Christ in this specific instance.
It takes time and prayer, every day, to hold our thoughts and actions up to Christian standards, to see where we have gone wrong, and to ask God for help in overcoming the great power of Satan trying to act through our human nature.