Daily Devotion for June 16, 2017
(The text read, "Peace on earth, good will to men.")
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.
“I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.”
Prayer at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sisters.
This in Christ's name, I pray,
To Live in Sympathy with Others
Blessed Lord Jesus, who wept with Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died, may I ever take your love and sympathy for humanity into my heart. As Paul prayed in Romans, “May I rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Soften my heart towards all, heavenly Lord, my enemies and my friends, my family and those who offend me. May I see the humanity of all my fellow men, rather than their sinfulness, and replace the fist of criticism with the opens arms of Christian love. By your grace, Lord Christ, I dare to ask your help in overcoming my hard heart,
Walk with me, dear Lord, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may reflect the light of your truth, to inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
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
What Bible verse tells us, in effect, to give our anxieties over to God?
The Bible in America Today
More than half of Americans think the Bible has too little influence on a culture they see in moral decline, yet only one in five Americans read the Bible on a regular basis, according to a recent survey by the American Bible Society.
The survey showed the Bible is still firmly rooted in American soil: 88 percent of respondents said they own a Bible, 80 percent think the Bible is sacred, 61 percent wish they read the Bible more, and the average household has 4.4 Bibles.
If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week).
John 14:16-21,25-27 (ESV)
I Will Not Leave You as Orphans
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
* * *
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
Notes on the Scripture
hrist loved his disciples and those to come. He was concerned about them. He realized how strong he was and how weak, by comparison, were even his mightiest disciples. He knew our pain, for he was human, and he was concerned about leaving us alone on earth, to carry on his Word, for we would be lonely and afraid, leading lives full of problems.
And so he promised — promised, mind you — that He would come to us. He promised that a Spirit would live with us, a Helper (or Comforter). Basically, a Friend.
The Holy Spirit is treated and experienced in so many different ways in churches and by individuals, but many people shy away from Spirit-based worship, because they associate it with loud noise and wild activities, which isn’t to their taste. But there is another side to the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will be with you any time you ask. This is an actual aspect of God, no different from Jesus himself, whose purpose is love and comfort. You can sit and talk to Him. If this makes you feel crazy, like a child with an invisible friend, do not be embarrassed. For if you do not learn to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, you are simply denying yourself one of the great benefits of your belief.
God is in the room with you this very moment, filled with love for you and concerned about your earthly pain and problems, as well as helping you to achieve eternal life. You can treat Him like a friend. Do you remember how God had a meal with Abraham, and then walked with him, conversed with him and even allowed Abraham to argue with him? (Genesis 18)
This is an important aspect of God. We fall down and glorify God the Father, and rightfully fear him; we pray to Christ to intercede for our sins, so that we might have grace. But our relationship with the Holy Spirit is meant to be friendly and informal.
If you have never done this, you should try to feel God’s presence, for He is with you; this is a promise Jesus made to us. You can pray to Him, but you can also talk with Him, argue with Him, even have a cup of coffee with Him. And although you are not going to hear a voice talking back to you, you can feel His loving presence if you stop and listen.
This is an important part of Christian practice; our forefathers knew about it, but we seem to ignore this huge benefit of God’s grace. If you listen to some old hymns, you will see that they had a deeper appreciation for the presence of God in their everyday life. Listen to In the Garden, for example, and realize that the writer is speaking literally. “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own” is not a metaphor; it is something that the author actually experienced in his life.
God loves you and His love has no limit. He is not ever going to run short of love for you. Talk to him, feel the Spirit that Jesus left with us, and let God's love wash over you every moment of your life.