Daily Devotion for July 8, 2016
From the chapel of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, Newburgh, NY. Notice that Mary crushes a serpent and an apple beneath her feet.
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.
Even though I speak not one word of Russian, I sang in the Yale Russian Chorus for two years just because I loved the music so much (it was quite a task memorizing all the words). This haunting Halleluia was part of our sacred repertory. It moves me so deeply that I can feel God's presence in the depths of my soul.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
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.
Psalm 30:1-3 (NKJV)
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Acts 16:25-34 (ESV)
The Jail and the Earthquake
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.
Notes on the Scripture
Sometimes we get into bad habits. We get stuck in a rut. All of the spirit goes out of us and we don't seem to be able to find the power to change. Often we get obsessed with some way of life: a hobby, a way of living, a daily routine.
ut the Bible shows us how God can make great changes occur in our life. Paul and Silas were thrown into a stone prison in Macedonia and their feet locked into stocks. Like a person who has been enslaved by obsession or habit, they were seemingly bound without hope of escape. But they did not despair. They prayed and sang hymns, and suddenly a great earthquake occurred. The very foundations of the prison were rocked, and Paul and Silas were set free.
We are capable of great changes in our lives. If you are in a rut you despise, there is a way out. If you are obsessed by work, or by physical fitness, or by watching television, or by a hobby, or by alcohol, or anything else, God will send a metaphorical earthquake into your life to free you from your shackles and knock down the prison walls of your mind.
Prayer is the key to change. If you need a personal earthquake, ask for it: “Knock and it will be opened unto you.” A sincere prayer will lead you to whatever help you need; the Holy Spirit will give you the courage to change. No earthly prison in which we may find ourselves can withstand the mighty hand of God.