Daily Devotion for April 29, 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.
This hymn composed, by William R. Featherston in 1846, is performed a capella by the Charity Homeschool Chorus.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, who taught the hearts of all faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit; Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day. I pray in the name of my beloved Lord, Jesus Christ,
Prayer of Repentance (from Psalm 51)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. I am full of shame at my sin, and my heart lies heavy.
Purge me and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Which Bible verse tells us to ask God for what we want?
Psalm 103:1-5, 20-22 (NKJV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Luke 4:1-8 (ESV)
The Temptation of Jesus
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days.
And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
and him only shall you serve.”
Notes on the Scripture
e live, most of us, in a religious environment that is lukewarm, tepid, our lives filled with complacency. Catholics and some others once abstained from meat on Fridays, as a symbolic fast to celebrate the day Christ died. (It was the big day of the week for fish markets. Everyone who knew what was what would go to the fish market on Thursday or Friday, because that was when they would get fresh fish, preparing for the Friday onslaught.) And today, we might give up some food for Lent, which is 40 days long in celebration of Christ's temptation. But really, most of us give up something that we are probably better off not having anyway: alcohol and sugar — recreational food — are common. We kill two birds with one stone, in effect.
Fasting in the Bible, however, means eating nothing whatsoever, or next to nothing, purely as an act of devotion. It is often done as a penitential measure, but not always. Here, Christ does it to show his scorn for the world. He does it as a sign: God the Father is more important to him than food.
He is not trying to lose weight or improve his health. He is resisting temptation, for the pure sake of resisting temptation. We must eat, eventually, to live; but we must have God to live, also.
Satan telling Christ to turn stone to bread is full of irony. Christ's reply shows that his power does not lie in his dominion of the material; although he would later perform miracles, he has not come to perform magic tricks, empty of meaning. He will perform miracles only in the service of salvation. The only miracle here is the miracle of faith: he will use his power to resist his very powerful urge to eat, to show his devotion.
The devil then ups the ante. He has, he tells Christ, been given authority over all the world, but he will give the world to Christ if he will worship him. But Christ will not give up his devotion for all the money and power on earth. Quite a statement.
There was a time when Christians would similarly give up everything to show their devotion. Many died, giving up the thing men value most, rather than renounce their faith. Many others gave up all worldly possessions. Francis of Assisi, the son of a rich Italian family, famously gave up his inheritance to live in poverty.
Christianity is not a “guilt trip”; we are not expected to feel bad because there is more we could do in service of our faith. But it is a good idea to read this passage, to read about people like John the Baptist, or Francis of Assisi, or Benedict of Nursia, and to try to hear what we are called to do in our devotion.