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Daily Devotion for August 26, 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 features a group that a lot of us listened to in our younger days.
Prayer to Dedicate This Day to God
Holy God, as I face another day, I know I am going to face many challenges: to my faith, to my patience, to my love for others. I am going to have constant temptations to lapse into sin. Come to me now, Lord, and stay with me all day. Let your Spirit encompass my mind. Let me know your presence. Steer my hand, direct my words, guide my thoughts in everything I think and say and do. I resolve to live this day as a beacon of your glory, the best I can, with your help. I commit myself to give this day to you. In the name of Christ, be with me and help me.
Dwell with Me
Alone with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear, when thou art near O king of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.
So dwell in me, I pray to thee, 'til breath shall pass away.
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 does Proverbs 3:5 tell us to do?
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
1 Corinthians 1:10-17 (ESV)
Divisions in the Church
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.
What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Notes on the Scripture
hat a wonderful way Paul finds to skewer the pride of church leaders who cause divisions in Christ’s church. He says, “Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” We can admire church leaders, we can venerate Mother Theresa, or Billy Graham, or our minister or priest, or whoever speaks to our heart, but religious leaders are just people, filled with sin and error.
We read and learn from Peter, Paul, John; we worship Christ. We worship at a specific church and we call ourselves Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics; but we are baptized in the name of Christ. No matter what denomination and secondary beliefs we may have, Paul redirects our attention to the important fact: nobody but Jesus was the son of God.
The Communists, who had a sort of “religion without God,” were possibly the most adept at dealing with this phenomenon, because they did not want to see a repeat of Josef Stalin after he died. They coined the phrase “cult of personality.” A cult of personality is a group of people who become so accustomed to seeing a leader as the embodiment of a philosophy or religion that, when he begins to say or do things at odds with their beliefs, they still follow him.
The phenomenon of the cult of personality is important to understand, as it operates within ourselves. If you have ever been asked about your religious beliefs and have said (as most of us have), “I am Methodist/Greek Orthodox/etc.,” you can see in yourself what Paul talks about in today’s Scripture. A church or denomination is a vehicle for worshipping Christ. To be asked about your religion, and say “I am an Episcopalian,” is like being asked where you are traveling and answering “Delta Airlines.”
We must be careful not to mistake an earthly institution or religious leader for the true subject of our faith, “lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
We seek somebody we can believe in, whom we can trust. But there is only one such person, Christ Jesus our Savior. All others will disappoint us. And so, we must always remember that we follow, first and foremost, Christ. We are not Lutherans or Baptists or Catholics. We are Christians. Our only true authority is the Bible itself. The leader we follow is Christ. The living person we follow is the Holy Spirit.