Daily Devotion for March 14, 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.
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
Oh loving God, who laid the foundations of the earth amid the singing of the morning stars and the joyous shouts of the sons of God: Life my little life into your gladness. Out of you, as out of an overflowing fountain of love, wells forth eternally a stream of blessing upon every creature you have made.
Oh, then, help me to glorify you by striving to be like you. Make me as pure and good as you are. May I be a partaker of the Divine Nature, so that all that is truly human within me may be deepened, purified, and strengthened. And so may I be a witness for you, a light of the world, reflecting your radiance to all I meet.
For Those Making All Kinds of Journeys
I pray for all who will be making journeys today: For those who are going to a new job and for those who are going to work for the last time today; For the emergency services who will travel at high speed on land, water or in the air, to bring help to others; For those starting a new life as they move into a new home; For those travelling to or from prison; For people who will go into hospital today; For young people on their way to school, college and university; For those who are lost on the journey of life; For those who will die today and make their final journey. I remember all these people now, and ask your blessing upon them, Lord.
[Those who die today.]
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his 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.
Psalm 94:7-10 (NKJV)
They say, "The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob pays no heed."
Take heed, you senseless ones among the people;
you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who implanted the ear not hear?
Does he who formed the eye not see?
Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?
Wisdom 7:15-22 (NKJV)
May God grant me to speak with judgment,
and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received;
for he is the guide even of wisdom
and the corrector of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as are all understanding and skill in crafts.
For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists,
to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements;
the beginning and end and middle of times,
the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons,
the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars,
the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals,
the powers of spirits and the thoughts of human beings,
the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots;
I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,
for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
mobile, clear, unpolluted,
distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen,
Notes on the Scripture
The Book of Wisdom is part of the Apocrypha, a collection of 14 books written before the time of Christ but which have been separated from the Old Testament. The authority of the Apocrypha is controversial, and different denominations have different views about it.
he Catholic and Orthodox churches accept the Apocrypha as part of the divinely-inspired Bible; that is, they consider it Scripture in the full sense. Protestant churches generally accept the Apocrypha as acceptable religious reading, but do not consider it “canonical,” that is, inspired by God, to be read as part of His holy Word. Certainly the early radical protestant leaders, such as Calvin, Luther and Zwingli were comfortable with the books being included in the Bible. In fact, the Apocrypha was included as part of all Bibles before the 1880’s.
It should not be confused with the scores of mystical books which pretend to be secret, lost, or suppressed accounts of God’s interaction with humanity, false and even evil inventions which undermine the Bible. Many of these are pseudepigraphical, a ten-dollar word that means a forgery pretending to have been written by somebody of significance. The Jews have their Kabbalah and we have our Gnostic Gospels, as two notable examples.
The Apocrypha has never been so much rejected as simply ignored and slowly forgotten. Given the decline in reading the core canonical books of the Bible, it is hardly remarkable that few people read the Apocrypha. And it is our loss, for it is full of interesting and valuable religious and historical instruction.
The books of the Apocrypha are not a cohesive work; they are very different from one another. What they share is that they were written before the birth of Christ but were not written in Hebrew, and do not claim to be the Word of God. Some of them contain valuable history (such as 1 and 2 Maccabees); some of them are astonishingly beautiful religious poetry (such as Ecclesiasticus); some of them are generally considered fictional and should be read as one would read, say, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
Today's reading is a perfect example of the value to be found in the Apocrypha. It develops a theme not treated in the Old or New Testaments, which might be helpful to many Christians: God gave us our intelligence to understand science and history. And it is Wisdom, “the fashioner of all things,” which teaches us the difference between science — the “manifest” — and the spiritual, or “secret.”