Daily Devotion for September 24, 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 “Virtual Sunday Church” this week is a concert hall, with a beautiful rendition of Holy God We Praise Thy Name from the Irish Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Sing along!
(The words vary slightly among denominations.)
Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.
Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.
Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.
Original lyrics by Ignaz Franz (1771)
English lyrics translated by Clarence A. Walworth (1858)
Tune: Großer Gott, wir loben dich (traditional German)
Hymn Before Prayer
I bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need:
Love towards God,
The affection of God,
The smile of God,
The wisdom of God,
The grace of God,
The fear of God,
And the will of God
To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each shade and light,
Each day and night,
Each time in kindness,
Give Thou us Thy Spirit.
Penitential Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake,
For the Church
O gracious Father, I humbly pray to you for your holy church, that you would be pleased to fill it with all truth. Where hypocrisy exists, help those who suffer it to see their fault and correct it. Where disputes exist, let them be resolved in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it.
Where it is right, help us to establish and nurture it through your mighty power; where it is in want, provide for it; and where it is divided, reunite it. All this I pray for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever lives to intercede for our very souls, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
[If I don’t live for Christ, I live for sin.]
O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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.
Psalm 62:5-8 (NKJV)
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (ESV)
Why Do We Love Christ?
The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Notes on the Scripture
Most people have difficulty reading and understanding Paul’s epistles. If we read them quickly, we hear a stream of Christian buzz-phrases, but the logic is unfathomable and the deeper meaning, lost. So, for most of us (certainly for myself), we have to take very small bites and chew thoroughly.
e are “convinced that one has died for all.” We not only believe, we are convinced — we have made up our mind and taken this fact as an absolute truth — “that one person died for all.” Out of all the people in the world, one of them died for everyone. Not because he wanted to, not because he had to. He died to bring some benefit to everyone else.
Once we really believe this completely in our hearts, “The love of Christ urges us on.” Christ died because he loved us, and once we fully understand and believe this, we love him for it. Such strong love is a powerful force. This love propels us, upholds us; it puts wind in our sails and we walk with conviction and purpose.
But why did he want us to love him so much? Did he have a neurosis? Did he just want to be popular? Was he seeking celebrity status?
We know the answer, if we pray and examine our lives and hearts, because prayer will ultimately show us that we are full of sinful urges and thoughts. It is in our nature to live for ourselves. But living for ourselves is flawed. Our instincts, our minds, even our thoughts, are riddled with imperfection. Living for ourselves, therefore — following our own minds and instincts as our guide and shepherd — means that we will inevitably live, in part, for sin. We will destroy ourselves.
But Christ is perfect, full of good and holiness. To live for him is good for us; good for our souls, good for our neighbors and, I am convinced, good for our own lives while we are on earth. So when Paul says, “And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them,”, he meant to do us a favor.
We must let our love for Christ flow “like a mountain stream” (as the Bellamy Brothers put it) to the point where we live for him, not because he gets a kick out of people kneeling for him, but because it is the equivalent of following the only person who knows the way to heaven. Like sheep in a dense mountain range, we follow our shepherd because he’s the only one who knows the path to safety. Loving him and following him it is the only way to life.