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Daily Devotion for June 17, 2010
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Prayer of Repentence
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.
I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.
Fear of Death
Jesus said, "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus is not telling us that we should not avoid death, or that we can somehow make our natural avoidance of danger, pain, disease, or injury disappear. He is comparing the fear that we might have of someone who is able to kill our earthly body, compared to the fear we have of God. Physical death is a terrible moment, but it is inevitable. Our odds of dying are one out of one.
But once we learn that our souls are eternal, and that God's mercy has given us hope of eternal existence in a world where there is no anxiety or pain, we realize that there is something worse than physical death. The stronger our faith becomes, the less anxious we are about the inevitable time when our bodies perish, and the more concerned we are about the salvation of our souls.
It is interesting to reflect on how strong and immediate our reactions become when we feel threatened by physical death. Yet so often we are calm, even cavalier, when faced with something that could cast us into hell. A vicious criminal with a gun, or direct exposure to a dangerous wild animal, will send us into emergency overdrive. But Satan is the most dangerous and vicious force in existence-- a creature or force poised and motivated to send our souls to eternal oblivion -- and when he threatens us, we generally show a comparatively mild reaction.
Jesus wants us to understand the greater threat. This is about taking God seriously (reverence and fear toward Him), and along with this - a sober, watchful defensive position toward evil. Who really cares about you? God cares about you in the deepest, purest way.
Simply reflect that, if it were not for God, you would not have life in the first place. He created us and loves us. We are his children. He has sent us a message, through the life of Christ, that He will guard and protect us for all eternity, if we are true to him.