Daily Devotion for July 7, 2010
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you may hands to do Your work; I give You my feet to go Your way; I give You my eyes to see as You see; I give You my tongue to speak Your words; I give You my mind that You may think in me; I give You my spirit that You may pray in me. Above all, I give You my heart that You may love in me - love the Father and love all humankind. I give You my whole self, Lord, that You may grow in me, so that it is You who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer based on Psalm 1
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of thy law, so that we might know our sin, and thy Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
Joy to Come
Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.
When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me.
Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."
Notes on the Scripture
Christianity is the ultimate expression of 'delayed gratification'. Many martyrs have given their lives for their faith in Christ, and anyone who believes in Christ will take some action in this life that is contrary to his self-interest in the world, because of his belief in the joy that will come to his eternal soul.
In today's passage, Christ speaks words of enormous comfort to the apostles, who are disconsolate at the approach of Jesus' cruel death. The example he gives, of a woman in labor, is wonderful; it is something that everyone can understand and appreciate, for birth can indeed be terribly painful (and in that time, dangerous) to the mother; yet the result is one of the happiest moments in the woman's life.
For most of us, Christ's burden is light and the reward is great. As discussed in yesterday's passage, life is not fair, although in this case the unfairness runs in our favor. We are given the same eternal salvation as those who were crucified, those who were thrown to lions, and those who spend their entire adult lives as monks and nuns, living in poverty and discomfort.
In fact, sometimes Christ's "burden" is an earthly blessing, especially for those who feel God's Holy Spirit in their lives. Every person's life is full of cares and woes. When we really can grasp the significance of our salvation, they do not hurt so much. Christ did say, "Come to me, those of you who labor and carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you."
I hope that all of us can take this message to heart. True faith, especially letting the Holy Spirit enter our lives, takes an enormous weight off our shoulders. Whenever we are feeling down, we should take time to meditate and pray for this enormous blessing we can receive during our lives.