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Daily Devotion for September 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.
Cesar Franck’s sublime Panis Angelicus (“Bread of Angels”), sung by Andrea Bocelli.
Lyrics by St. Augustine; Music by Cesar Franck
For Perseverance Today
If things get tough today, Lord — and in all hard times — let me stay motivated and calm. Let me look at how far I have come rather than how far I still have to go. Let me continue counting my blessings, not what I've been missing. May every day bring new chances to grow, new beautiful things to see, new plans to do, and new goals to pursue, as every new day is Your miracle day.
For Courage to Speak the Truth
Holy God, whenever I am in fear that someone will be angry with me for telling the truth, let me remember that Christ did not come bearing a sword to kill his enemies, but a cross upon which his enemies would kill him. Be with me, Holy Spirit, when I am afraid to speak up against falsehood, knowing that people will be angry with me, for to follow Christ means to carry the cross. If I know that the powerful might hurt me, I also remember that the wounds of Christ were momentary. The power of this world will fade, but your truth will remain forever and will reward me for such good and truth as I can accomplish in my life, no matter what hostility it encounters from the evil of men. I pray you will imbue confidence in the depth of my heart, dear God, utter certainty that wounds suffered in your name will be healed forever, and rewarded in this life by the knowledge of your approval, and in the life to come by the peace of heaven. In Christ's name, I pray,
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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
Which Bible verse tells us not to be anxious, but to present our requests to God?
For each of us the Baptist’s words are true: “He must increase and I decrease.” He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only in so far as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.
from The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)
How Faith is Learned
And I, when I came to you, brothers and sisters, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Notes on the Scripture
Very obviously, from Paul’s arguments we have read over the past few days, the divisions and arguments among the Christians of Corinth was the result of people applying their logic to the Gospel. They were, after all, Greek. Philosophy and logical discourse were their metier, their strong point; it was how they had been raised to approach issues of faith.
ut as we have seen, Paul does not criticize them directly, but has rather been demonstrating the inadequacy of human wisdom in finding God. Yesterday, in fact, he made the point that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” — God made His word known, not by logic, but by a basic spiritual knowledge often more easily grasped by the humble than the educated.
Now he uses his own actions to demonstrate how one might learn and preach the good news of Christ. He admits that he has often been afraid, in his travels and preaching, that what he was saying was not plausible. Paul was human, and he felt the rejection and mockery. No doubt, he got called “idiot” and “moron” on a daily basis; and considering how many times he was imprisoned, stoned, etc., we can only marvel at his determination.
But it is this very determination that characterizes his point: that it is the power of the spirit, not the mind, which drove his message all over Turkey and Greece, and eventually into Rome itself. Paul did not argue; he testified. He was filled with the Spirit of God, not a message of logic and wisdom, for it is ultimately impossible for us to know God solely through our minds. Anyone who wants to tell us “why” God does or does not exist, is wasting his breath, because the Spirit is beyond the human faculty of reason, beyond all wisdom and knowledge.