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Daily Devotion for November 3, 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.
The moving Sabbath Prayer from “Fiddler on the Roof”, where Tevye and Golde pray for the future of their unmarried daughters. This is sung at supper on Friday, the start of the Sabbath.
Prayer of Love
God, my Father, may I love you in all things and above all things. May I reach the joy which you have prepared for me in Heaven. Nothing is good that is against your will, and all that is good comes from your hand.
Place in my heart a desire to please you and fill my mind with thoughts of your Love, so that I may grow in your wisdom and enjoy your peace.
Oh holy God, you know the misery I am in and the suffering I feel. Please let your Holy Spirit come to me; if I must suffer, dear God, I will suffer for you. I love you more than anything. I pray, give me the strength just to put one foot in front of another until this episode of depression gets past. Let me know that the pain is going to end at some point and just hold on until it passes.
I suffer for you, Lord Christ, for I know that you suffered even more than I do. I love you and kiss your broken feet. I will live for you, to show my love for you; for despite whatever sin I might commit this day, I know that you have put me here for some reason, even though I cannot find it or see it because of my psychological state. And thank you for my friends who are praying for me, for I know that at least one person on earth cares about me enough to petition you in my behalf.
And I pray for healing, Lord. Let me see that my shame and guilt have been forgiven and destroyed by your sacrifice and your great power. I am clean and perfect in your eyes, and you love me. Heal me of some or all of this affliction of pain, if it is your will, I pray.
Benediction (from Colossians 3)
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
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
Where does Christ tell us not to revile those who profess and work in His name, but believe something different from us?
Psalms 89:5-6 (NKJV)
And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
1 Corinthians 7:32-40 (ESV)
The Unmarried and Widowed 
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry — it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul continues at length the point he began in Wednesday’s devotional, that it is perfectly acceptable for Christ’s saints to be married. But he retracts a little bit today, for he says that, although there is no sin in being married, and a person who marries “does well.” But now, he admits, a person who is able to remain chaste in Christ’s service “will do even better.”
hristianity tends to be a bit prudish sometimes, but it is not this prudishness that underlies Paul’s teaching; he is all in favor of sex, and even tells husbands and wives that they have a duty to satisfy one another’s needs. (1 Corinthians 7:1-6) Rather, it is simply a matter of how one spends one’s time. Married people have a spouse to worry about, and more often than not children. Having a family takes up time.
And, one must say, the most devout workers for Christ seem to remain unmarried. Vows of chastity are nearly universal among monks and nuns. Some churches require it of their leaders: Catholicism requires all clergy to remain unmarried. Some (primarily Orthodox) churches have a two-tiered approach; in the Russian Orthodox Church, priests may marry, but only the unmarried may rise to higher positions, e.g. bishoprics. Celibacy for priests is not a Biblical requirement, but rather a matter of church discipline and choice, for Paul himself taught that “A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife,” in 1 Timothy.
Celibacy was a pressure point of the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church had been through a difficult period in the Renaissance, when bishops, cardinals and even popes would have a mistress (or several!) and illegitimate children. Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, had four children by one mistress whom he acknowledged openly, and at least two others by other women.
Thus, when Luther demanded the right to marry, although it left him open to accusations of less-than-complete devotion to Our Lord, he had ammunition to fire back at his critics — that he, at least, would marry the woman he slept with!
Chastity in God’s service has become gradually harder and harder to find. Whether this is because fervor in the name of Christ’s service is diminishing, or that social mores towards sex have become ever more lax, is difficult to say.