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Daily Devotion for July 8, 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.
Our Saturday Oldie for this week is the inimitable Mississippi John Hurt.
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
“Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.
Soon with the lord our wonderful savior
We'll be at home beyond the blue sky.
There we shall meet the dear ones awaiting
We'll understand it all by and by.
When we see Jesus coming in glory,
When He comes from His home in the sky,
Then we shall meet him in that bright nation
We'll understand it all by and by.
Music and Lyrics by W. B. Stevens and/or W. A. Fletcher (pub. 1911)
Glory to God
Glory be to You, mighty God, for calling me into being;
Glory to You, for showing me the beauty of the universe;
Glory to You, for spreading out before me heaven and earth
Like the pages in a book of eternal wisdom.
Glory be to You for Your eternity in this fleeting world;
Glory to You for Your mercies, seen and unseen;
Glory to You through every sigh of my sorrow;
Glory to You for every step of my life's journey
For every moment of glory.
Glory to You, O God, from age to age.
To See Christ
Oh holy Christ, teach me to recognize your face in the people you put into my life today.
Prayer of Thanks
Thank you, oh source of all abundance, for surrounding me with good things. But help me to remember that nothing of earthly value owns timeless truth. Let your immeasurable blessings transform how I perceive material benefits. Teach me to appreciate unchanging treasures: the wealth of your compassion, the grandeur of your wisdom, and the richness of reconciliation. Lighten my selfishness with simple faith. Help me to reveal your love more joyously. And strengthen me in grace, oh God, always to give the best that serves you most in humble gratitude.
[God’s unseen mercies.]
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
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.
Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to accomplish, your starting point is forever where you are at this moment.
1 Peter 4:8-11 (ESV)
Using Our Gifts
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
e must love each other earnestly, sincerely, deep within our hearts; putting on a show is not enough. And “each other” in this context does not mean just the people we like, just the people who go to our same church or belong to our same denomination. By our nature, we are going to like some people and dislike others, and this is true in any group — even our own families.
Peter says this for the very reason that there are going to be other Christians who we don’t like. But the love he tells us to show and feel is the product of prayer and meditation. We must, in effect, forgive other people for not being more likable. We must realize that in part disliking someone is a product of our pride. In this, as in all things, we first seek to remove the “splinter in our own eye.”
The love that results will cover our sin. Not that it will “cover up” our sin, in the sense of hiding it from view, but cover it in the sense of taking care of it or attending to it. For when we take the effort to love others whom we do not like by our nature, many sins disappear, either totally or in large part: anger, pride, envy, self-righteousness.
Peter then teaches us to use whatever gifts God may have given us in the service of this love, not in the service of our pride or our greed. Teachers, deacons, and such leaders must avoid the pridefulness that our minds force upon us, as humans, when we serve in leadership positions. Christ, remember, washed the feet of his disciples, as a living example of the ultimate humility. The very fact that Christ lived, that he was born of a woman, is an historical act of humility by God Himself.
And those who serve must not be angry or resentful, feeling their pride has been hurt, no matter how lowly they might feel their position is. The reward is the same for all of us. We are all working together, whether or not we have the maturity in our faith to realize it.