Daily Devotion for January 30, 2017
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.
Quietly You arrived
Never forcing me to choose
Bringing Your perfect light
Into this sunless room of mine.
So make Your home inside my heart.
Fill this empty house of stone.
Make Your home inside my heart;
Let me dance in the brightness of Your throne
Looking through stained windows
I see a rose on the wall
Thorns that draw blood from Your face
I hear the agony of Your call to me.
In the stillness of moonlight
I am awakened by Your grace
And the love that glistens
In the tears on Your face for me.
Music by Iona
Lyrics by Cindy Spear-Polley
Prayer for the Morning
God, let your Holy Spirit be powerful to direct my thinking today, so that it be empty of self pity, dishonesty, self-will, self-seeking and fear. Inspire my thinking, decisions and intuitions. Help me to relax and take it easy. Free me from doubt and indecision. Guide me through this day and show me my next step. God, show me what I need to do to take care of any problems. I ask all these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man. In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray.
For Damaged Pride
Oh mighty and loving God, help me to overcome the pride which creeps in around the corners of my mind like rain hammering on broken shingles and cracked walls, persistent and sly, wearing away defenses, flooding the basement, trying to destroy my love for others and my humility by rotting it away.
Especially help me when someone corrects me, Lord, and I am wrong, in part or whole; for I am apt to take offense and shame, where humility would have neither; and my mind tries to justify my words or deeds, no matter how much I am in error. Fill me with desire for truth and love, dear God, so that I can accept correction, both from you and from other people, seeking only truth and love. In Christ I pray,
Ancient Prayer: Jesus Wash My Feet
Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship.
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
(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 verse tells us that faith without works is “dead”?
Galatians 6:2-5 (American Bible)
Carrying Our Own Load (Galatians #87)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, thereby fulfilling Christ’s commandment. 3 For if anyone considers himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4 Each must examine his own works; then he will not boast to others, but only to himself. 5 For we each will carry our own load.
Notes on the Scripture
e are looking at verses 2-5 as a group, because Paul appears to contradict himself directly: In verse 2, he tells us to carry each other’s burdens, then turns around in verse 5 and tells that we each carry our own load. What?
It seems pretty clear what he is saying. Some burdens we can share, but others we must each carry on our own. To determine which is which, we look at the word “for.” Greek writers tended to connect their thoughts explicitly, which is why the Bible can sound so artificial or stilted to the modern English reader. Ancient Greek did not have paragraphs like we do, so to keep all the connected thoughts together in one topic, a sentence that was thematically connected to a previous sentence would usually contain a connective word. When these are translated into English, they are translated as “for,” “and,” or “but” — even though there are maybe six or seven Greek terms that are crammed into these three English words.
So we see that the conflicting teachings about carrying burdens are not both meant as standalone or gnomic truths, but rather, are to be taken as relative to another statement.
We must examine our own works. Here, “works” might be read to mean “good deeds,” as it often does in Paul’s writing. This is easily seen by the oft-cited principle that we are justified not by works alone, but by faith. Paul could hardly mean works to include sinful deeds, since it would be meaningless to say that we are not justified by bad deeds. He means that even actions in compliance with God’s will are not going to save us from our sins.
So if we have done good deeds, we should keep them to ourselves. Christ taught this even more explicitly: “[W]hen you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4)
One nice thing that comes out of this, by inference, is that we are able to be pleased with ourselves when we have done something good. We should not think that we have satisfied God, or made our place in heaven secure, by doing good; but we know that we have shown God our love for Him when we do something exemplary, and it doesn't hurt to feel good about having done good. There might or might not be a bit of sarcasm intended, when Paul tells us to boast to ourselves, if we want to boast.
But “works” might also be read to include all actions, good and evil. Ultimately, we will stand before God as individuals. We will carry our own load, in the sense that we will answer to Him for our own actions as individuals. Others can (and should) help us to correct sinful thoughts and conduct during our lives, but when the day comes, we will stand naked. We will have Christ by our side, as our advocate and redeemer; yet, both Paul and Christ Himself indicate that we will regret our disobedience, despite our salvation through forgiveness.
When it comes to sin, we must help one another out. People very rarely seem to do this, at least in the circles I travel. At various times, the New Testament urges us to share our sins with others. Today, people seem embarrassed to do this, by and large. We don't want other people to think we are sinful — as if we are kidding them, or as if their opinion is important. Paul presupposes that the attitude of church members towards the sins of brothers and sisters will be helpful; for the burden of sin is a burden we should share. We should not think that we are something special, that we are better than another person who has committed a colorful or shocking sin, for we are nothing. Our judgment of another judges only ourselves.