Daily Devotion for November 1, 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 a nondenominational service in Bremen, Germany, featuring the “singout GOSPEL Mass Choir” (sic).
Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills,
Knowing my help is coming from You.
Your peace You give me in time of the storm.
You are the source of my strength;
You are the strength of my life;
I lift my hands in total praise to You.
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen.
Music and Lyrics by Richard Smallwood
For the Spirit of Prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,
Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me; the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong; and the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy on me, and forgive me for all my sins against you and against others. And teach the grace to forgive others to all who ask for it, through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Most Gracious Lord God, from whom proceeds every good and perfect gift, I offer to your divine majesty my unfeigned praise and thanksgiving for all your mercies towards me. You made me at first and have ever since sustained the work of your own hand; you gave your Son to die for me; and have given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to his holy precepts and example.
You are pleased to lengthen out to me the time of repentance and to move me to it by your spirit and by the word, by your mercies, and by your judgments; out of a deepness of your mercies, and by my own unworthiness, I do appear before you at this time; I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ's sake; instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what you give me strength to bear.
Take care, I pray you, of my affairs and more and more direct me in your truth, defend me from my enemies, especially my spiritual ones. Do not allow me to be drawn away from you, by the blandishments of the world, carnal desires, the cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin. Work in me your good will and pleasure, and discharge my mind from all things that are displeasing to you, of all ill will and discontent, wrath and bitterness, pride and vain conceit of myself, and make me charitable, pure, holy, patient and heavenly minded.
Be with me at the hour of death; dispose me for it, and deliver me from the slavish fear of it, and make me willing and fit to die whenever you may decide to call me. Bless our rulers in church and state. Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of You and your son Jesus Christ.
Pity the sick, the poor, the weak, the needy, the widows and fatherless, and all that mourn or are broken in heart, and be merciful to them according to their particular needs. Bless my friends, and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness from You, my heavenly Father.
I beseech you to defend me this week from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask, for Jesus Christ's sake, in whose most holy name & words, I continue to pray, Our Father.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 37:6-11 (ESV)
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)
Does God Exist?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Notes on the Scripture
Most scientists would agree that, in the beginning, the "earth was without form and void, and there was darkness everywhere". It is generally accepted that the universe had a beginning and, before that beginning — well, nobody really knows, exactly. Scientists make important-sounding guesses, but they don't actually know. As far as anyone knows, neither energy, nor matter, nor time, nor space as we know it even existed.
Human beings have a terrible habit of acting like they know things when they really don't. Just a few hundred years ago, a renown physician would tell you, with utter assurance, that your illness was caused by an imbalance of humours, and should be treated by sticking leeches on you to remove excess blood. Scientists, like every other kind of expert, sometimes have a hard time saying "I don't really know".
Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, recently declared that God does not exist. Because of his popularity and status as a famous scientist, an expert on the beginning of the universe, people seemed to think he has some sort of special insight into the issue. But he doesn't.
He does not actually understand his own area of expertise; he doesn't know whether there was a "Big Bang". Even within the language of science, it is only a theory. And neither Hawking nor any other physicist even attempts a coherent proof of what existed before the Big Bang, or how or why it happened. Hawking's own explanation is that, well, the universe just popped into existence!
This isn't a diatribe against science, or all the wonderful things done by all the brilliant and hard-working people that have improved our lives so much. The point is: Steven Hawking's opinion on the existence of God has no more validity than that of a washerwoman. And even worse, he is pandering to the bias of a world community that seems ever more eager to turn away from God.
What we Christians understand, that Hawking does not, is that God cannot be known simply with the mind. Spiritual knowledge cannot be found by mathematics. We can only find God with our heart and our spirit, and with the innocence of a child. We must pray for Hawking, and those like him, that they may find the light of the Spirit so that their souls might be saved from their own pride.