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Daily Devotion for September 1, 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.
Beethoven’s beautiful plea that God have mercy on our souls.
Prayer for the Morning
God, let your Holy Spirit be powerful to direct my thinking today, so that it be empty of self pity, dishonesty, self-will, self-seeking and fear. Inspire my thinking, decisions and intuitions. Help me to relax and take it easy. Free me from doubt and indecision. Guide me through this day and show me my next step. God, show me what I need to do to take care of any problems. I ask all these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man. In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray.
For Guidance in Bringing Others to Christ
Oh Heavenly Father, who has promised to send us a Spirit to lead us, if we but listen and hear his presence in the bustle of life, I pray for your direction and guidance in becoming a disciple of your word. Teach me to spread your truth, to anyone I might see who might be able to hear it. Let me always reach out and show your love to the world through my every action. I pray, Holy Spirit, show me your path in this wayward world. Mold me by the model of your Son, and let me every day approach nearer to his perfect service. Let me, too, be a fisher of men. Show me how; teach me to help guide others to you, both in my words and in my deeds. In the name of Christ, I pray,
[How is my thinking warped by my fears?]
Prayer of Penitence
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in my contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all my sins, and cleansing me from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. And turn my heart to your will at every moment, I pray.
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.
“They say love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.”
~ William Penn
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)
Who is Wise?
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Notes on the Scripture
aul’s primary target here is Greek philosophy, which is to say, the fruitlessness of human endeavors to know God by logic. The Greeks had, for centuries, been the center of schools of philosophers who believed they could eventually discover ultimate truth by thinking things through. They devised elaborate metaphysical schemes to explain puzzles like the “meaning of meaning” and the purpose of life.
There were among them great thinkers; Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were so powerful in their thought that they are still known to us today and, often, still read and discussed. But there is a line between God and man that cannot be crossed.
Our brains are simply not instruments capable of understanding God; God must come to us. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men,” which is to say, the simplest thing about God is not within the mental capability of the smartest human.
The Greeks, like many of the more vocal atheists today, think the idea of God is stupid. And it is! But the foolishness of God to human logic shows only the weakness of the human mind.
The other folly Paul discusses, typical of the Jews of his day and superstitious people today, is to “demand signs.” They expect that God will be known through their senses or their emotions rather than the mind.
This expectation is closer to the truth than the Greek, for God did make himself known through miracles. Christ was known by signs, a phenomenon emphasized in John’s Gospel. The difficulty for those who say “I’ll believe it when I see it” is that God is in charge, not us. He performs His miracles if and when He sees fit.
We are perfectly capable of finding God through his word and through the spirit. For he has, in his wisdom, fitted our brains with a receiver that can actually know him. But it works only if we seek him through the spirit, rather than demanding signs as proof, or trying to find him with inadequate human logic.