Daily Devotion for August 5, 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.
Mendelssohn’s sublime setting for Psalm 42. (English text in today’s Scripture section.)
To Be With God Today
Oh Father God who made me, open my eyes that I may see your hand in all of your works this day and most especially in those you have made in your image. Oh Lord Christ, open my heart that I may see your holy presence surrounding me; blanket me in an impenetrable luminous cloud of godly love. Oh Holy Spirit, let me hear your voice like the uninterrupted roar of a great waterfall that cannot be silenced and cannot be stopped and cannot be overcome by any temptation of flesh.
Draw my heart back to your love the instant I begin to hate. If I am proud, drown my pride in your glory. Teach me to be careful in nothing when it comes to you, Holy God, and let me know and shine forth the truth: that all things are possible in Your Son, Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
To Overcome an Impediment to Faith
O Lord God, I do truly love you and in my heart want to serve you, I have encountered some sort of impediment — or perhaps I could call it a stumbling-block — in my journey of faith, and I find that I am falling away from my love and service and faith.
I pray desperately that you will help me to overcome this obstacle and find my way back to you. O mighty God, you have all power, and I know you have the power to help me find you. Please dear God, send a spirit to me, let Your Holy Spirit work within me, to bolster my faith and fear of you. Show me the way around this impediment, I plead with you Lord God; for having found you, and having been found by you, I want more than anything else in the world to know you, to spend my time and energy living in Christ, loving you before all things, and serving you and my fellow creatures in humility, in love, and in purity.
By my faith in Christ I dare to ask you this great favor — that you will lead me out of this terrible spiritual morass into which I have fallen. Help me to raise my eyes, to see your Word like a lost sailor in a storm finding the light from a lighthouse. In the name of Christ, help me to find you, for you are my everything.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What New Testament verse most directly tells us that the Bible is the Word of God?
The Holy Martyrs of Libya are 21 Christians, who were murdered by IS (ISIS) terrorists in February 2015. Before they had denied to renounce their faith though threatened with death for 40 days. The coptic Orthodox church acknowledged them as new martyrs.
Psalm 42:1-5 (NKJV)
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
Galatians 5:19-21 (Daily Prayer Bible)
Carousing and Moralism (Galatians #75)
19-21, 26 You know perfectly well what I mean when I speak of indulging the “desires of the flesh”: sexual immorality, impurity of mind, sensuality, worship of false gods, witchcraft, hatred, quarrelling, jealousy, bad temper, rivalry, factionalism, carousing, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like that. None of us should be ambitious for our own reputation, or seek our own glory, or indulge our vanity; such motives just make us jealous of one another. As I have told you before, those who indulge the desires of the flesh will never inherit God’s kingdom.
19 Now, the works of the flesh are well-known, including fornication, impurity, indecent conduct,
20 idolatry, making potions, hostilities, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, factionalism, dogma,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things, which I warn you about now just as I warned you before: those practicing such acts will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self control . . . .
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
he leisure activity of getting drunk and having sex, particularly with people one might not sleep with sober, has been around a long time. Roman orgies, frat-house parties, urban clubs, suburban wife-swapping — the variations are endless. Outright orgies, where people have sex in a group, seemed to become rare under the influence of Puritan and Victorian cultures, which inhibit us still today; but it seems to be coming back. Certainly, pornography has boomed since the U. S. Supreme Court declared it protected by the First Amendment, starting in the 1960s. All it needed was cable t.v. and the internet to make it available to pretty much anyone, any time.
Is it sinful? We can say, definitely, “yes,” largely because of this passage.
The sex-with-strangers side of a wild party is included in the very first part of the list: “fornication, impurity, indecent conduct.” In the last few specific acts of the flesh, emphasized in today's passage, Paul includes drunken “carousings” that do not necessarily involve sex. God’s Holy Spirit does not want us getting drunk, period; and He does not want us joining in wild drunken parties, whether we stumble home alone or in tandem.
It is not our job or within our power to stop sinners from sinning. Neither is it our job to judge them. But it is our job to clearly distinguish right from wrong, in the face of determined opposition, and it is our job to try to conform our own conduct to the will of God's Spirit. If we are older, perhaps we have less temptation or less opportunity to go to wild drunken parties and have sex with inappropriate people. (Often it is not simply religious education, but the secular wisdom of age, that teaches us to avoid the painful consequences of such behavior. But avoidance of earthly consequences is merely wiser flesh, not spiritual wisdom.)
Nor are younger people apt to listen to old fuddy-duddies trying to dampen their fun. One can easily sound negative and moralistic. To inhibit the fruits of living in the flesh, we must first teach the joys of living in the Spirit. Any person, young or old, must find Christ, for even the strictest morals, without Christ, avails us nothing in the long run. This is the foremost lesson of Romans and a major theme in Galatians.
God has promised to destroy the world; we should not be surprised when He does so. (E.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) He told us His plan right in the Bible. So, we should hardly despair at all the sin in the world, even if it seems to be increasing. Our Kingdom is intact. Rather than worrying about the lost, we must concentrate on showing Christ’s glory to the world, equally through our lives and through our words, so that as many as have ears to hear the call of Christ may, in fact, hear it.
This, Paul shows us how to do in the following verses: He shows us how to display the fruits of the Spirit.