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Daily Devotion for June 21, 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.
Benedictus from Beethoven's
Mass in C Major
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye.
Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer based on Psalm 1
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of thy law, so that we might know our sin, and thy Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you.
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.
Psalm 75:6-9 (King James)
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
The Diversity of Gifts
Each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said,
"When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people."
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
The line, "When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive", is a little difficult to understand. Picture a playground bully bossing around smaller children. Jesus is bigger than the bully, and tells the children that they can choose to be with Him instead of the bully. Then he takes the bully by the shoulder and tells him, "The ones who are with me -- Leave them alone". Evil and death have ensnared us and hold us in captivity, but Christ is more powerful. He has captured and disempowered evil and death; he defeated death through His resurrection.
To those who choose Him, He has given gifts so that they might help the group whom he has saved from captivity. We know how different people are. Some people are good at speaking and persuading others, while some are shy or embarassed when they speak. Some of us can sing, while some of us are tone deaf. Some of us have the gift of humility and can find joy in sweeping a floor in Christ's service.
The point is, you DO have a gift to use in the service of Christ. We cannot bemoan the gifts that we lack. Nobody is perfect. We must find what gifts we do have and rejoice in them, being convinced that the only important thing in our work for Christ is the glory of God, not how much we impress others or how rare our gift may be.