Daily Devotion for January 14, 2018
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 takes us to Southwark Cathedral in London.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Lyrics by Thomas Obediah Chisholm
Music by William Marion Runyan
Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, Who has given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee and does promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name you will grant their requests; fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the world to come life everlasting,
O Changeless God,
Under the conviction of the Spirit I learn that
The more I do, the worse I am,
The more I know, the less I know,
The more holiness I have, the mores sinful I am,
The more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!
I have a wild heart
And cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer,
By thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
By knowing thou hast saved my soul.
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
Who sins more safely because grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them,
Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for he is saved,
Who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
With no spiritual understanding,
No desire for the Lord’s Day,
Ever learning but never reaching the truth,
Always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
With nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
So I forget so easily the lessons learned,
And thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.
And finally, may the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father’s boundless love, with the Holy Spirit’s favor, rest upon me, and all of us, from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
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 60:1-5 (NKJV)
O God, You have cast us off;
You have broken us down;
You have been displeased;
Oh, restore us again!
You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
You have shown Your people hard things;
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah
That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and hear me.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (ESV)
Earthly Matters vs. Spiritual Concerns
ince it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.
For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
Today’s reading continues the theme of last Sunday: How much time and effort should we spend pursuing earthly goods, and how much time and effort should we expend to gain and celebrate God’s grace? There is no easy answer. It is tempting to say that there is an easy answer, i.e., we should spend every waking minute in the worship and service of Christ, and should give almost no thought to the needs of our earthly body.
But this isn’t a realistic answer for most of us. Very few people are called to the monastic life. Even most people who are called to spread God’s word as a “full-time” vocation, such as priests, ministers, pastors, evangelists, etc., enjoy the fruits of the earth. Many marry and have children. Most of them enjoy a good meal and a warm bed in a shelter that protects them from the elements. Most have some sort of hobby or avocation. And even monks eat and sleep!
Paul gives us, in this verse, a bright-line standard of “how much is too much”; that is, we cannot be so wrapped up in earthly life that we are blinded by “the god of this world” to the gospel of the glory of Christ. It is something people must decide for themselves, but it is worth constant self-examination, or perhaps (if we feel uncertain) a conversation with a friend whose relationship with God is solid.
I suggest sitting in a quiet relaxing place, asking for God’s guidance, and simply asking yourself, “Are the things of this world interfering with my ability to know and follow Christ?”