Daily Devotion for April 15, 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 Sunday anthem comes courtesy of the Greenleaf Friends Academy pre-school program. (We may have lost our minds here, but we dare you to watch this and not laugh.)
For Diligence at Prayer
O Lord, take from me: idleness of spirit, which destroys time; vanity of thoughts, which hinders Your presence and distracts my attention to prayer. If, while in prayer, I turn away from You in my thoughts, help me; so that this distraction may not be willful, and that - averting my mind - I may not avert my heart from You.
I confess to You, O my Lord God, all the sins of my wickedness committed before You, now and in the past. Forgive me for them for the sake of Your Holy Name, and save my soul, which You have redeemed with Your precious Blood. I entrust myself to Your mercy. I submit to Your will. Do with me according to You mercy and not according to my evil and wickedness.
Prayer to Love Others
Oh holy Christ, who has commanded us to love others as ourselves, and not to judge others, but to look to our own sins rather than criticizing our fellow man; I pray you to keep your words in my heart when others offend me, for they may fly from my mind when I am gripped by emotion. Many times I judge, many times I feel anger at others, many times I look down upon someone. And even when I show a smile, my heart may yet be filled with sin, anger and malice and jealousy.
I pray to you, mighty Christ, burn your love on my heart. Let me never forget the beauty and peace of loving my fellow man. Help me be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let me seek my glory in you, Lord Christ, instead of in my own image. Soften my heart so that I feel true sympathy, and so I value others just as I do myself.
May your Holy Spirit, who is with me, guide me in everything I think and do, this day, during the week to come, and always.
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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 89:8-14 (NKJV)
O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.
You have a mighty arm;
Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
Romans 3:9-18 (ESV)
No One is Righteous
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside;
together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Notes on the Scripture
The passage is a veritable portrait of a person who does not acknowledge God or the Bible. It is the model of someone who lives according to his or her own understanding, a life dictated by animal desires, a life where decisions are made according to personal criteria, ignoring God and His Word.
ut it applies to a broader swath than outright atheists. People who claim to know God and are raised in the church often rationalize their unbiblical behavior, by allowing the world to dictate their morals and their values. Spouses fail to love one another as the Bible has commanded them to do (and as they promised to do when they married); they neglect their families and put an obsessive importance on their careers, their possessions, their appearance, or their self-development. Our political leaders, our cultural leaders, and sometimes even our spiritual leaders make excuses and rationalizations for selfishness and sin. For advice, we go to Dr. Phil instead of Dr. Paul.
Read a newspaper or magazine, watch television, go to a movie, and ask yourself: “Is this the product of a society that loves God and respects the commandments and guidance of the Bible?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is no.
It is a battle. We need to do whatever we can to practice the teachings of the Bible in our own lives and to hold up the light of God’s word before others, because silence is acquiescence. To do nothing is to concede the world to the darkness of atheism and the standards of selfishness and hypocrisy. We all have sinned and we will all continue to sin. But we don’t have to rationalize sinful conduct; we don’t have to preach that such conduct is all right, simply it is something we might have done or want to do; and we don’t have to stand silent when such conduct is promoted by others.