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Daily Devotion for March 14, 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.
The beginning of this moving song is sung in Kituba, a language widely spoken in central Africa. The Kituba lyrics are (thankfully) translated onscreen, but we have supplied the English lyrics for It is Well with My Soul.
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
What ever my lot you have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come,
Let this blessed assurance control;
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul.
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876
Lyrics by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
Prayer to Be Close to God
Mighty Lord, I come before you today to thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. Many times my life is so full of busy work that I neglect my relationship with You, and for that I am deeply sorry. I know that You never neglect me, for if You did my very life would cease to be. Continue to pull me to Yourself, guide me in my journey, and hold me close in Your bosom until the day I come home to be with You forever. Be with me now as I gather together with this online community, in Your name, that I and all who pray with me may feel your presence among us. In Jesus precious name I pray.
To Be Free of Anxiety
Set free, O Lord, the souls of your servants from all restlessness and anxiety. Give us that peace and power which flow from you alone. Shield us from all perplexity and distress, that upheld by your strength and secured on the rock of your faithfulness, we may abide in you now and evermore.
Prayer to Inspire Others
Lord, I ask you to inspire me to encourage others by what I say and do today. God and Father of all people, never let me look down on others or make anyone feel inferior.
Lord, show me how to live today with genuine concern for others. In expressing my care, may I show people that they are valued, loved and appreciated for who they are.
[May I find peace and fulfillment in serving others.]
Let me not forget my prayers as I go out into the world. Holy Spirit, be with me, and let me praise you and remember you in my every action and thought, for the entire day long. In Christ's name I ask this,
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.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB)
The Sinful Christian
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Notes on the Scripture
We all believe that, with our faith in Christ and our baptism, we may be forgiven for our sins. But do not be deceived. God expects us, by and large, to stop sinning. Just because we become Christians is no reason to become complacent about our behavior.
In several sections of the New Testament, Christ or one of His inspired saints mentions specific sins. While there is little guidance as to whether one sin is “worse” than another, aside from blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32), Paul really seems to pick out some specific sins that he thinks we might stop committing during our lives. At least, when we read through these, we get the impression that Paul expects the reader is not (or is no longer) engaged in them.
ociety more and more rejects the sinfulness of these acts. We must never confuse forgiveness with approval or indifference. Not that we are going to judge others, but we must never forget that these are God’s commandments and that we, personally, must do everything we can to obey them ourselves. Being born homosexual is no excuse for sexual immorality. Societal permissiveness is no excuse for engaging in fornication, adultery, or pornography. The glorification of beauty and wealth by the world of magazines and t.v. shows is no excuse for greed, vanity, and ostentation. Alcoholism is not an excuse for drunkenness.
These are all enormously powerful drives and difficult to overcome; yet God promises that we can overcome them. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
We can be forgiven for committing these sins, but that does not mean we should engage in them. The Bible gets very scary when it comes to baptized Christians whose behavior does not follow their avowed faith. For instance, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.” (1 John 2:4-5)
We are called to obedience and faith. Even if we are saved, we are still subject to the moral law. We must do everything in our power to follow God's commandments. God expects results! The best advice regarding sin is, “Don't do it.” Abide in Christ. “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
And yet, God loves us and will forgive us when we fail, if our faith endures. Romans 7
This duality — that we will not sin if we know Christ, but Christ will forgive us for sins if we know Him — is not logical. To the human intellect, it creates a self-contradiction. But we know that the Spirit, being God, is greater than logic. If the Spirit is illogical, if His Scripture is illogical, then it is logic, not the Spirit, which must be abandoned. We kneel before Christ on the cross, and know that He will save us, if we but persevere in our faith.