Daily Devotion for October 4, 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.
Our Virtual Sunday Church this week takes us to the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee.
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, you make me glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son my Lord: Give me the peace to worship you with my whole heart and mind, forgetting the cares of the world, and dwelling with you for a short moment with my entire being. And give me this day such blessing through my worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in living knowledge of your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all gifts, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.
All this I ask in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom I have all faith,
To Treat Others with Love and Understanding
Heavenly Lord, you have commanded us to love one another, but sometimes even when I am pleasant to another person it is not sincere. Help me, I pray, to be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let my love and concern for others not be a sham. When I work for you, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I might be committed and enthusiastic in your service. Let me live in your presence, and not get so wrapped up in my life that I forget about you.
And may I be patient when difficulties arise and not give way to frustration and anger, knowing always that the result belongs to you. Let me not take offense at others, let me not be thin-skinned; but shielded by the power of your Spirit, let me not hear insult where none is intended, and shrug off even the most intentional. In Christ's name, I pray this.
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace — this day, this week, and forever more.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
John 5:25-30 (ESV)
The Judgment of Christ
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Notes on the Scripture
If we ever have questions about the day of judgment, this passage puts them to rest. There are several lines of thought about judgment and what will happen to us when we die, and all of them have some basis in the Bible. The most straightforward is that we die and await in a state of death until Christ comes again, at which time the dead will be raised just as Christ was. All will be fulfilled, and the sinless (those who have accepted Christ's grace of forgiveness) will be passed through into heaven to dwell with God for eternity.
by William Blake
This is the Jewish view and that of many Christians. The Catholic Church has taken a somewhat intermediate position, positing a state of purgatory, where our souls dwell until they are shriven of sin and then accepted into heaven.
The most common view in Protestant churches (and the general, rather amorphous view of most agnostics and non-Biblical Christians) is that we are judged after we die. Those who have accepted Christ's grace are redeemed and are accepted into heaven, while the unredeemed are cast into hell, to suffer separation from God for eternity. There is some authority for this view, as well: Christ, on the cross, told the penitent being crucified with him, "today you will be with me in Paradise". (Luke 23:43)
Views about the actual experience of heaven and hell range even wider: from Dante's inferno on the one hand, where sinners suffer eternal bodily torture tailored to their most egregious sin, all the way to the most philosophical and abstract, almost Buddhist, concept of heaven as a union with God and hell simply the eternal separation from God, into nothingness.
But, like so many theological speculations, it makes little difference what we believe, since we don't know. What we do know is sufficient. Our belief in Christ and acceptance of the Holy Spirit will lead to forgiveness of our sins; whatever heaven is, we will know it for eternity.