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Daily Devotion for March 8, 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 terrific worship song from the Australian church/choir phenomenon, Hillsong.
Prayer to Do God’s Will
Oh Lord God, Father Almighty who created me and everything I see and enjoy, blessed and beautiful Jesus, love of my heart, bounteous Holy Spirit of God who is so kind as to be with me and comfort me whenever I ask, I thank you for all that I am and all that I have had in my life. Thy will be done, my God. I ask only that you let me know your will for me, for I am often confused or conflicted, and I seek your guidance. Knowing your will for me, let me be anxious for nothing. And I pray for the strength, the power and the energy, to accomplish your purpose. All glory be to you, one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who was before time and will be forever,
Prayer for Those with Harmful Obsessions
Heavenly Father, I remember today all the many people who damage or destroy their lives with one of the thousand obsessions that can plague the human mind: The alcoholic and addict; those with eating disorders; those with sexual compulsions; those who are driven to obsessive gambling; the superstitious; those who hoard obsessively and live in squalor; those whose only concern is their appearance, or wealth; or any of the myriad, baffling, and often bizarre behavioral disorders that may affect and burden the lives of your people.
Help me first to remember, when I am shocked by their behavior or critical of them, that they are your beautiful children whom you love. Give them the strength to seek help, guide them to people who can help them, and flood them with the power of your Holy Spirit, that they may control their disorders and find peace and contentment on this earth, and the eternal joy that awaits the faithful. I pray this in the name of Christ, who loved beyond all love and was always pleased to heal those who came to Him in faith.
[What behaviors in my life have the characteristics of an obsession?]
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
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.
If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, “Unselfishness.” But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, “Love.”
~ C. S. Lewis, from “The Weight of Glory”
Romans 6:1-7 (NASB)
Positive and Negative
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
Notes on the Scripture
ead the quote from C. S. Lewis closely and you will notice that the two terms he contrasts — “unselfishness” and “love” — are not really all that different. When one loves someone else, in the highest sense of Christian love (or “charity”, in the KJV), one seeks the good of somebody other than oneself. The two terms are very nearly identical in meaning.
Love is not a gooey feeling; it is giving something to somebody else. One takes something away from one’s own worldly life and gives it, freely and with no hope of earthly reward, to someone else who needs it. I take a week of my life to help build a house for someone else; I take a dollar out of my pocket and give it to a beggar.
And this is how Lewis intends us to read it. The actual virtue being described by the modern good men and those of old is the same virtue: What Lewis is looking at, is the difference in how these persons express the virtue.
We might express most any Christian virtue (or vice) as a negative or a positive. “She is chaste” versus “she is not promiscuous.” “I am joyful” versus “I am not in despair.” “He is temperate” or “he is not given to excess.” C. S. Lewis wants us to see that there is sometimes an advantage to stating a virtue in the positive. Nor is this some psychological stratagem, some attempt to manipulate the listener’s opinion through semantics. Rather, it is how we see ourselves in relation to Christ after our salvation.
It would be difficult to list all the benefits of the positive statement, but one obvious benefit is that it turns our eyes away from judgmentalism and towards reform. We look to our goal. If we say “Leona is an unselfish person,” or “we should strive to be unselfish,” there is the tiniest grain of criticism of people who are not unselfish. We are holding up a negative ideal. This is a very small point, because there is certainly nothing wrong with being (or trying to be) unselfish; it is just a tiny bit better, in the long run, to say “I am trying to express my love for God.” We look away from what we have given up, and look forwards to what we have gained.