Daily Devotion for January 18, 2016
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.
This encouraging advice from Margery McKay seems appropriate for a Monday.
Prayer of a Nigerian Christian
God in heaven, you have helped my life to grow like a tree. Now something has happened. Satan, like a bird, has carried in one twig of his own choosing after another. Before I knew it he had built a dwelling place and was living in it. Today, My Father, I am throwing out both the bird and the nest.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit to Pray for Me
Holy God, sometimes there is something in my heart and I cannot find the words, or sometimes, there are prayers I have wanted to pray and have forgotten. Come to me in your Holy Spirit, Lord God, I humbly ask of you, and find the prayers of my heart.
Holy Spirit of God, come to me. Pray for me. Pray all of the things in my heart that have escaped my mortal memory. Pray for all that I cannot find words to pray.
And come to me, O Holy Spirit, and make your will known to me. What would you have me remember today? What may I do to show my love for you?[Let your mind remain silent and empty until you feel the Spirit has responded.]
Thank you, Lord God for the gift of your Spirit, and I pray for your help in obeying your will. In the name of Christ I pray,
[Where has Satan invaded my tree?]
Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,
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.
Proverbs 22:11 (ESV)
and whose speech is gracious,
will have the king as his friend.
Deuteronomy 5:28-33 (ESV)
The Versions of the Ten Commandments [Summary]
“And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!
Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you the whole commandment and the statutes and the rules that you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.’
You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
Notes on the Scripture
The distinction many people make between what they call "The Law of Moses" and what they call "The Ten Commandments" is erroneous. Strict, literal obedience to any of the laws stated in the Old Testament — with the arguable exception of the First — is not required for our salvation. On the other hand, compliance with the spirit of all of the laws of Moses must inform our lives and our morals. The Ten Commandments are not the foundation of our salvation, as man people seem to believe; yet they (and other parts of the Old Testament) give us a moral code that the New Testament assumes we understand.
Our primary relationship with God was changed by the coming of Christ, from one of legalistic obedience to one of faith. (E.g., Hebrews 8:7-13) This is made crystal clear by the difference between justification by works, the basis of the Old Testament, and justification by faith (or God's grace through Jesus Christ), the basis of the New Testament. (E.g. Galatians 2:16)
But this does not mean that the laws of Moses have become null and void. When asked how to find salvation, Christ Himself would frequently cite the law; for example, nine of the Exodus 20 "ten commandments" are repeated in the New Testament. He expressly stated that He had not come to abolish the law (of Moses). (Matthew 5:17) But although the laws engraved on stone are given emphasis — and, as we have seen, there are more like 15 or 16 of them than 10 — the New Testament is replete with references to other laws. These laws have no less applicability to us than the Ten Commandments. They are the entire basis of Christian morality and, unwittingly, non-Christian Western "morality". The Old Covenant is obsolete in its entirety; but the law of Moses is still the law of God, in its entirety.
As a clear (although flawed) analogy, suppose the judges in your town stopped enforcing traffic tickets. They will pay for everyone's fines. Does this mean that the posted speed limit in a school zone is null and void? Should you now speed through a school zone? No. The reason it was there in the first place was to keep children from being hit by cars, and driving 15 or 25 miles per hour when you are near a school is still the right thing to do. Similarly, stealing and coveting are as wrong in the New Testament as in the Old; it's just that Jesus has “paid the fine.”
In short, we are obligated to be guided, in good faith, by the spirit of the laws of Moses, although we are freed from technical compliance. In modern-day terms: we are not obligated to follow the letter of the law, but if we love God, we will follow the spirit of the law. Those who are justified by their faith in Christ will live their lives under the morality of the Old Testament, as informed by the duties of love and forgiveness given such emphasis by Christ. We are not justified by good works; but we are created and saved to show forth God's glory by doing good works. (E.g. Ephesians 2:10)