Daily Devotion for January 17, 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.
Secret Garden, a Norwegian Christian group, is not as well known as they deserve; they wrote and first performed both this song and You Raise Me Up, Josh Groban’s great hit.
To Live in the Knowledge of Christ
Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you. I can tell you everything that troubles me. I know you care about all the concerns in my life.
Teach me to live in the knowledge that you who care for me today, will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.
For Strength of Faith
Heavenly Father, every life has its trials, and I have my share. Help me to see the challenges of life as opportunities to test my sincere and single-minded faith and to grow, and endure, and persist despite obstacles in my path. For people who have it easy in life develop no strength. As you have told us, the flower of wealth and fame is short-lived, for the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers it, and its petals fall, and its beauty is gone.
Give me confidence and strength in my faith, Lord, for the reward you give to your faithful is true joy and will never fade, but will remain when all flesh has been corrupted and all the things of earth have faded. Let me hold strong and steadfast through every trial and every temptation. All praise and glory to you, mighty God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Make your home with me today and every day of my life; be with me in all I do.
[People who have it easy in life have difficulty developing strength.]
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
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.
Before an individual can be saved, he must first learn that he cannot save himself.
~ M. R. DeHaan, M.D.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (ESV)
Spiritual Gifts 
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Notes on the Scripture
ome people treat the Holy Spirit like an unattractive relative. They know he exists and must be invited to family events, but they try to ignore him, our of embarrassment, as much as possible. Primarily this occurs when people with quiet, more dignified personalities associate the Spirit with loud, florid outbursts of speaking in tongues or falling on the floor, the practices of some Pentecostalist congregations.
But Paul solves this (and other) puzzles for us, in today’s Scriptural passage. We do not, and we are not intended to, experience or even appreciate all manifestations of the Spirit. They come from the same God, but they are different in every person.
Some people find the Spirit sitting alone in a quiet room; some in a quiet church service; some in their workplace, in a classroom, in nature; some in a raucous revival. We must know that this is the same Spirit, and even if we do not relate to the expression of faith, understand and sympathize with others who are not like us; for it is the One God who is present, the same Holy Spirit who we know in our way.
The gifts we are given with which we may serve God are also different, as different as the people in which they occur. This is easy to see in the ministry. We have all known a priest or minister who was wonderful at dealing with the sick and bereaved, but whose attempts to give a sermon are agonizing. There are revivalists who can inspire us to heights of faith, and yet, they are helpless to explain theology. Some Christians can work at a charity for the poor, dealing directly with downtrodden people, but cannot lead a Sunday School class.
We must use the gifts we have, not bemoan the ones we do not, or feel envy or even defensiveness or repulsion, at those with other gifts. God’s view is the one that counts, and it may be quite different from ours. He may value the janitor sweeping the floor of a homeless shelter with dedication and love, practically unnoticed by everyone else, while a bishop sitting in his chair may have a troubled spirit.
We must do the best we can with what we are given, and God will judge us by our hearts and spirit, not by our earthly status.