Daily Devotion for April 10, 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.
Virtual Sunday Church this week takes us to the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, England. Sing along!
endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.
No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers of your people who call upon you; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.
Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this coming week in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.
Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.] But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Have You Changed?
For our vanity is such that we hold our own characters immutable, and we are slow to acknowledge that they have changed, even for the better.
~ E. M. Forster
Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
The Vanity of Philosophy
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Colossians 2:8 (J. B. Phillips NT)
Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men’s ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!
Notes on the Scripture
One of the greatest puzzles of life is how strongly a person will believe that some philosophy or way of life is absolutely and universally correct, simply because it makes sense to him or her. People kill each other by the millions, absolutely convinced about the universal truth of communism, or the right of their race or tribe to dominate, or one of a hundred philosophical or political systems. Our minds and intelligence are so limited, and our viewpoints are so narrow, and yet we are convinced of the infallibility of our ideas. And often, we are amazed and infuriated when others disagree.
In this short passage, Paul warns us about becoming captive to ideas. We must, of course, live in the world. Nothing in the Bible forbids us from voting, or believing that democracy or socialism or something else is a better form of government, or that slow drivers should stay to the right or that people should keep their front lawn mowed.
Should we spank our children? Should people eat meat? Put people in jail for smoking pot? We have to answer a lot of questions for ourselves; the Bible does not tell us every detail about how to live our lives. Most people probably would say that they have a philosophy about various aspects of life; but this is not what Paul is talking about when he speaks of a "hollow and deceptive philosophy".
What Paul means is that we must always subordinate ideas to faith. This includes theology, for it is tainted by the human mind. Theology is not “inspired by the breath of God.”aIf someone calls a direct scriptural quote “theology”, then they might say some theology is God’s truth. But I think it is better not to call direct Scriptural truths “theology,” as it leads to blurring and confusion over which statements come from the mouth of God, and which from minds of men. Like any other type of philosophy, theological arguments can become bitter, divisive, and even cause of wars.
We take the Bible as divine truth. And theology or other commentary may be tremendously helpful, even critical and necessary, for our spiritual growth. But we must always remember that what people say about the Bible is not the Word of God, but ideas created in a human mind based upon it.
And even in our own minds, we must not become captive to our thoughts and opinions, to the point that we ignore some basic commandment that comes from God. For example, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is a rule that most Christians would agree is a universal, God-given truth. Yet, how often will we ignore such an actual truth, and hate someone or wish them dead because they hold some 'hollow and deceptive philosophy' that disagrees with our own hollow and deceptive philosophy?
Scripture is the ultimate yardstick against which any idea must be measured. We must learn to examine our thoughts, actions, and personal philosophies against it with blunt honesty; for it is always a temptation to bend what we read in the Bible to our pre-existing conclusions, rather than changing our ideas to match the Scripture.