Daily Devotion for November 10, 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.
Psalm 1, from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers. “Blessed be the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
Turn up your volume. This gorgeous music was recorded very soft.
Prayer to be Reformed
Lord God, I have tried in vain to reform myself, and I have failed. Only you can truly change my heart; and I pray that you will do it, by the power of your Holy Spirit.
Make me your instrument, Holy God. Replace every prideful thought with a psalm, every angry instinct with a prayer of love and forgiveness. Let the sight of me radiate your glory, not mine; let every word that comes from my mouth be music from your harp and every thought in my mind the dove of your Spirit. Inhabit me, infuse me, reform me, that I may live only in Christ, and He in me.
Prayer for Mercy
Holy God, Lord most gracious!
Rebuke me not in your anger, nor chasten me in your wrath!
Holy you have called us to come to you.
I feel unworthy, for I have failed you again and again.
I feel like running away, yet you keep calling me.
Have mercy on me and my fellow believers, O God.
Holy God, Father most gracious!
Rebuke me not in your anger, nor chasten me in your wrath!
Heal me from my sin, for I am troubled.
Deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
My sins trouble me, O God.
I am troubled by how they have hurt others.
I am troubled by how they have hurt myself.
Your ways are right! O righteous God!
And whenever I have refused to follow them
I have found out how right they are.
Have mercy on me, O God.
Holy God, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me for the sake of your Son,
who died to free us from our sins.
To you be honor and glory!
[I am troubled by how my sins have hurt myself and others.]
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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.
A Step at a Time
As we trust God to give us wisdom for today’s decisions, He will lead us a step at a time into what He wants us to be doing in the future.
~ Theodore Epp
1 Corinthians 9:7-12 (JBP)
Paul Discusses His Ministry 
Just think for a moment. Does any soldier ever go to war at his own expense? Does any man plant a vineyard and have no share in its fruits? Does the shepherd who tends the flock never taste the milk? This is, I know, an argument from everyday life, but it is a principle endorsed by the Law. For is it not written in the Law of Moses: ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain’.
Now does this imply merely God’s care for oxen, or does it include his care for us too? Surely we are included! You might even say that the words were written for us. For both the ploughman as he ploughs, and the thresher as he threshes should have some hope of an ultimate share in the harvest.
If we have sown for you the seed of spiritual things need you be greatly perturbed because we reap some of your material things? And if there are others with the right to have these things from you, have not we an even greater right? Yet we have never exercised this right and have put up with all sorts of things, so that we might not hinder the spread of the Gospel.
Notes on the Scripture
“Surely,” Paul writes, “we are included.” Paul here defends the right of a preacher to be paid for his work. Even a preacher of the Gospel has worldly needs.
The passage is simple to read and doesn’t need much discussion. It is a straightforward defense to accusations that Paul, Barnabas, and Peter, have been financially benefitting from their ministries.
aul first asserts that they have a right to some income. Knowing what we do of their lifestyle, it is hard to imagine that they are ever getting more than enough to stay alive. But they have a right to some support, if they are working full-time. Paul gives several examples, of how people who are taken away from the business of earning their livelihood have a right to expect to be supported.
His most appropriate example is a soldier, for many times forces were levied from the general population, expected to leave their farms or occupations and travel constantly, to perform a specialized function for the good of all society. The example about oxen is not so much a direct analogy, as a comparison of duties and reward. If even an ox is fed, how can people complain that the apostles are also fed?
The last sentence takes a different tack. Having asserted that he has a right to expect to participate in the economic rewards of his society, Paul then declares that he has not done so. He did get sizable donations from the young churches; the end of his third voyage sees him traveling back to Jerusalem to transport donations to the Council. It must have been a goodly amount, to require him to travel so far, in person.
But the important point is that he did not just keep the money. Accusations that he was profiting from his ministry were at best fabrications made by ignorant people who wanted to attack Christianity, and at worst intentional lies told by false teachers, who themselves wanted to do what they were accusing Paul of doing: running a religion-for-profit sect.