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Daily Devotion for April 26, 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.
1. I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.
I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev'ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee!
2. I need thee ev'ry hour;
Stay thou nearby.
Temptations lose their pow'r
When thou art nigh.
3. I need thee ev'ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.
4. I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!
Lyrics by Annie S. Hawks, 1835-1918
Music by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I do not fear this day, for you are with me wherever I might go, your light to shine ahead, your footsteps to lead the way. I do not fear this day, for your word will be my guide. Your strength will sustain me and your love revive me, this day and all days. I do not fear this day, for you are with me. In the name of Christ, I call upon you.
To Be Led by God’s Gifts
Heavenly Father, for the words of faith shared in devotionals, from the pulpit, in the sanctuary, in prayer, in song, that color my life so rich: I give thanks, and pray that they will enrich my journey of faith, sharing a bit of grace with other earlier saints.
For the sacrifice, the example, the gift of your Son; who came to earth and lived among us, who gave us words to guide us, who infused the law with Spirit and taught us the beauty of change within our hearts; for the loving way Christ showed us, I give thanks, and pray that His words may lead me to live life as your servant, as your disciple, today and forever.
[Do I let my sorrow draw me closer to Christ?]
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
Along the Road
I walked a mile with Pleasure.
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.
by Robert Browning Hamilton
Matthew 5:4 (ESV)
The Beatitudes 
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Notes on the Scripture
To mourn is to be in the utter grief we feel when someone whom we love dearly dies. Trying to comfort someone in that much pain is like fighting a forest fire with a bucket of water. We are helpless. It is impossible; and yet, Christ promises that He can comfort those beyond comforting.
Like each of the beatitudes, there is an immediate meaning and a deeper meaning to Matthew 4:5. Christians quickly grasp the immediate meaning, for Christ will defeat death itself. If we truly believe that our loved one has gone to a better place, that he or she has left a world of pain and sin for a world of perfect happiness, that heaven is real, our faith transforms our grief. We realize that we are not mourning for our loved one, but for ourselves. We mourn, not a permanent loss, but a separation from our loved one.
We, too, will die. And to die in true faith is to die with the conviction that we will be with those we love forever. And not just them. Even better, we will know new love, the love of God, first-hand.
Our short period of separation will be rewarded by knowing a powerful and pure love, which we have only glimpsed on earth. We drop a nickel’s worth of love into a slot machine, and suddenly fear that we have lost our nickel. But this is not a gambling device; the chance of winning is 100%. And a short while later, a billion dollars of love comes pouring out to immerse us.
As powerful as this message is, there is a deeper meaning even more powerful. “Those who mourn” does not just mean people already in grief. Christ's followers will find a new reason to lament; for they will suddenly see the sin of the world, their own sin, and the resultant death of Christ. Christ is promising to make us sadder! When we hear Christ's his message, we have a foil against which we can suddenly see the evil of the world more clearly. We cannot comprehend the darkness until we see the sunrise. Like a peasant who has known nothing in his life except filth and poverty, but then sees a great gleaming city for the first time, we will come to understand the true wretchedness of the world, and ourselves.
And we will see this perfect goodness, the body of sweet gentle loving Jesus, broken and hung on a cross to die. And then we will mourn, for we will know that it is our sin that has put him there. But in our mourning, we shall finally find true comfort; for Christ will rise again, and bring us with him into victory over death.