Daily Devotion for February 16, 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.
Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.
oh, how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.
If, in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us,
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.
Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal;
Come then, oh, come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, oh, never depart.
Music and Lyrics by Septimus Winner, 1868
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Prayer to Hear God’s Word
Dear God, there is only one voice that is perfect truth, and that is yours: the voice of your Spirit and the voice of your Word. Help me, I pray, to hear your voice clearly. For I tend to lose it in the cacophony. I am filled with the sound of my own voice, with the sense of my importance and the correctness of my thought; and on top of that, I am besieged by dozens and hundreds and thousands of words and voices telling me all kinds of things.
Lead me to read your Word without listening to any voice but yours. Let me hear your truth and read your Word without adding to it or subtracting from it, without twisting it to meet the demands of my own preconceptions. Let me not deny your Word because it is inconvenient for me; even if I cannot follow it today, let me know the truth. Where your teaching and my thoughts conflict, help me to change. Help me to set aside my prejudice, my illusions of knowledge, my rationalizations, so that I can learn; and even if I do not follow your Word perfectly, let me know where to ask forgiveness. This I ask in the name of my only Savior, Jesus Christ,
[Let me read God's Word listening to no voice but His.]
Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build up myself, and all Christians, in faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 16:17 (NKJV)
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who keeps his way preserves his soul.
1 Corinthians 14:33-40 (ESV)
Orderly Worship 
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached?
If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.
Notes on the Scripture
y personal approach to reading the Bible is to read it to learn, and I accept what it says. In my mind, if I begin to reject parts I don’t agree with, I fear that I will begin to succumb to the very strong temptation to write, rather than read, the Bible — to transform it into a document that agrees with my own, very flawed, ideas. Thus, I simply take this passage at face value.
But it is enormously contentious, and the contentions are not necessarily drawn along the lines of gender. A lot of Christian women accept Paul’s admonition that women should not be vocal in church services, and many men reject it and fight for the admission of women into the ministry or priesthood. The basic argument for dismissing the passage is that Paul was not making an eternal, divinely inspired rule of worship, but simply giving instructions in “how to run a church” amenable to the society of his day.
The passage itself would appear to defuse an argument that it is societal. Of it, Paul writes, “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”
Of one thing I am sure. Paul does not intend that women should be viewed as less important or worthy in the eyes of God, or as second-class citizens within the church. Priests and ministers, being human, can and do become smug and self-important; and as irritating as that may be to me, it is understandably even more infuriating to women when gender is mixed into the equation and they are patronized simply because they are female.
Moreover, many or most of the women who have taken up the cloth are “better Christians” than I am. More devout, more filled with the Spirit and fulfilling the commandments of love and forgiveness better than I, despite my best efforts, seem to be able to attain. I am loathe to sound critical of women in the ministry; my own garden is full of weeds and it is there I feel called to put my efforts, not to judge the better-tended lawn of my neighbor.
Nevertheless, I accept this passage — just as I accept passages that present greater difficulties for me, personally. But it is not an issue that I allow to interfere in the love and community I have with my brothers and sisters in Christ.