Daily Devotion for February 3, 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.
Glory to God in the highest! The eternal joy and hope of humanity leap forth in this short selection from Bach’s Mass in B Minor.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Almighty God, I pray for wisdom in these times of uncertainty. I look deep into my heart and soul to find your truth. I pray for comfort in times of spiritual restlessness — as I journey through the murky waters of sin and self-doubt. Lord, I pray for your word to enrich my life and bring me to a closer relationship and understanding with you, through your Son, Jesus Christ. And may all your children be granted the same wisdom, comfort, and the promise of your word throughout their daily lives, that we all can gather in your house and praise you more lovingly and faithfully from this day forward. In Christ's name,
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Judging the Day
“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Galatians 6:7-9 (Daily Prayer Bible)
Patience, Revisited (Galatians #90)
Whoever sows by the flesh will reap corruption. But whoever sows by the Spirit will harvest eternal life.
So we should never lose our enthusiasm for doing good or put God to the back of our minds, because if we keep at it, we will reap our reward in good time.
Notes on the Scripture
owing is followed by harvesting, but not immediately. There is a delay. The farmer plants his seed and then . . . he waits. For interminable weeks, the plowed ground just sits there, getting muddy in the rain and dusty in the dry sunshine. Yet underneath, slowly and unseen, a miracle is occurring.
Then one day, as if by magic, the soil is covered by little green specks. Yet the farmer has entered another waiting period. If one sits and looks at these tiny plants, it seems that nothing is happening. Our eyes tell us that reality is a field covered with tiny plants. Next week, our eye tells us that reality is a field covered with slightly larger plants; yet they are still nothing but plants.
Our mind, however, knows better. We have been taught, or we have learned from experience, that these green plants will eventually be covered with tomatoes, or stalks of wheat, or ears of corn — the fruit of the farmer. If he has sowed navy beans, he will harvest navy beans, in the fullness of time.
Very roughly speaking, 75% of the people in the first century A.D. were involved in the production of food, compared to less than 1% in the modern world. Many (or perhaps most) of us don't even know a farmer, unless we happen to live in the country. Yet, the constant Biblical allusions to dirt farming still resonate with us. The cycle of nature is the rhythm of life.
God’s timing, however, is on a longer schedule. Growing tomatoes may involve memory, for we can live through the cycle of seasons dozens of times. But we do not live through the cycle of salvation but once; there is no cycle. We cannot be patient by our memory. We might speak of the promise of the harvest, but unless we are small children, we understand the cycle from our memory. With human history, however, we must run on pure faith. God promises us in writing, time after time, that we are sowing spiritual seed and will harvest as we sow.
Except, of course, there is one exception. We have seen the perfect seed of the Holy Spirit produce fruit, and that fruit was perfect: Victory over death, proven to us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will have the same harvest, if we only sow by faith in God rather than by the immediate evidence of our fallible eye.
Paul really hearkens back to the previous chapter, here, for he has already told us that patience is a fruit of the spirit that we can harvest during our life. In a way of speaking, if we are born again and indwelled of the Holy Spirit, God is constantly giving us the seed to sow. As a farmer harvest seed corn, we harvest fruits of the spirit to sow again and again during our lives, that the final harvest may be perfect: Eternal life, lived in the joy of God’s presence.