Daily Devotion for July 12, 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.
Many people think that South Africa is the world's #1 center of contemporary gospel music . Here's a taste -- the great Soweto Gospel Choir singing a capella.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
2 Kings 2:1-8
The Acension of Elijah (Part 1)
Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you."
So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he said, "Yes, I know; keep silent."
Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho.
The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know; be silent."
Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on.
Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.
Notes on the Scripture
The names of all the Old Testament prophets are confusing. Understandably. The more recent sections of the Old Testament cover a period of 3000 years, and even the Anglicized names are taken from distant (and sometimes forgotten) languages.
Elijah is second only to Moses as the great prophet of Judaism; some would say they share the honor. He is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Nobody knows anything about his origins -- he simply appears on the scene, ranting against a host of heathen deities. He lived approximately 900 years before Christ. We don't even know his birth name for sure (although he is sometimes called Elias) -- Elijah is a Hebrew phrase meaning either "Yahweh is God" or "Yahweh is my God". He performed many miracles and predicted the coming of a Messiah. Just before Christ's crucifixion, he appeared with Moses to Christ and several of the disciples.
Elisha was Elijah's spiritual heir, and like him, was a worker of miracles and a great prophet, continuing his work. But although he was a great prophet, and is also revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, he was not the great figurehead that Elijah was and was not reborn. Elijah was special, a direct forebear of the Messiah, carrying the promise of salvation not only in his words, but in his being.
Today and tomorrow's readings describe Elijah's ascension; he did not die, but was carried directly to heaven by a whirlwind.