Daily Devotion for March 7, 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.
A serene and beautiful setting of the traditional Abide with Me.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
Prayer to Live Christ's Word Today
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.
Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me.
This I pray in Jesus' name.
That the World May Find Christ
Almighty God, whose compassions fail not, and whose loving-kindness reacheth unto the world’s end; We give thee humble thanks for opening heathen lands to the light of thy truth; for making paths in the deep waters and highways in the desert; and for planting thy Church in all the earth. Grant, we beseech thee, unto us thy servants, that with lively faith we may labour abundantly to make known to all men thy blessed gift of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
Satan wants us to be independent and proud, because then we shrink away from God and depend on ourselves . . . and Satan is stronger than we are.
Matthew 24:29-31 (ESV)
The Second Coming
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Notes on the Scripture
Christ tells us in simple, unmistakable language is that a day will come when He will return and gather his elect, and that His second coming will be announced by terrible disruption of natural forces. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will fall from heaven. We would imagine that such events will end life as we know it and, in fact, we learn in Revelation that the earth will be destroyed.
This leaves a huge temptation to speculation. Will it be caused by a global nuclear war? A great volcano? Collision with an asteroid? But speculation is counterproductive in Biblical interpretation. God tells us what we need to know: life on earth will end some day in cataclysm, and we will be saved from it. The details are unimportant, or He would have told them to us.
Christ never expected people to simply take him at his word. Throughout his ministry he performed miracles whose primary purpose was to establish his credentials for his claims. He proved his power over death by resurrecting the dead, including his own resurrection. He proved his power to heal us by causing men blind from birth to see. He proved his power over nature by stilling storms. He proved his power to care for us by feeding multitudes with a few fish and loaves of bread.
In Matthew 24, he proves his prophetic power by predicting (in the previous verses) the destruction of the Temple and by giving those who would listen instructions on how to survive it. That his prophecy of the Temple's destruction came true, and that his advice on how to survive it was accurate, is an historical fact. Those who did not flee, as he told them to, were butchered: man, woman, and child.
Anyone who does not believe that Christ will return to save his faithful and bring us to eternal life — and that the earth will be devastated and then destroyed in the process — is blind to the truth. It is then that the dead will be raised; for Paul was instructed to tell us that “the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air . . . .” (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Many churches give short shrift to eschatology — the five-dollar word for what will happen at the end of this age — in part because of the confusing weirdness of the Book of Revelation. Or, some churches lack the true conviction of faith in God's Word. But we do not have to read Revelation; here we have it from Christ himself, in plain and simple language. Although the imagery is disturbing, it is not hard to follow.
Have confidence in this. It is the fundamental promise of Christianity. It is fantastic, no doubt; but no more fantastic to us than a prediction of the Temple's total destruction was to the listener of 30 A.D.