Daily Devotion for April 29, 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 “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to St. John’s (Episcopal) Church in Detroit. We can all use a reminder to stand up for Jesus!
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
his army shall he lead,
till every foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed.
2. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the trumpet call obey;
forth to the mighty conflict,
in this his glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve him
against unnumbered foes;
let courage rise with danger,
and strength to strength oppose.
3. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.
4. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the strife will not be long;
this day the noise of battle,
the next the victor's song.
To those who vanquish evil
a crown of life shall be;
they with the King of Glory
shall reign eternally.
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Penitence
Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me, the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong, the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy and forgive me, in the name of my Lord Christ, by your grace and love; and help me to grow in faith, that I might not repeat these sins.
Light My Path
I come to you, my God, asking that your Spirit guide me in prayer. Lead me to complete devotion in my moments spent with you, Lord, for your Son has told us to come to you and I want to do so, not halfway, but with my full heart.
I know from Him that prayer is for the good of all. For you, because it is your commandment; for myself, because you love me as no other and want to fill me with goodness; for other people, for I want to love them in ways that are not in my nature and can only do if your power shines fully through my existence.
You have sent us your Holy Spirit; let me know Him in all times and in all places and in every cell of my being. When I am confused, the Spirit will bring me wisdom; when I am angry, peace; when I am afraid, comfort. When I have puffed myself up with pride, the Spirit will gently dissolve my self-deception, so that fear and greed and foolishness will melt away and I will know you, and the security and peace of the only truth on earth: the love of Christ. Let this be, Lord, I pray. Light my path.
May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and in the week to come, and 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.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
~ C. S. Lewis
2 Kings 2:1-22 (abridged) (NLT)
The Ascension of Elijah
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, . . . “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to the Jordan River.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together.
Fifty men from the group of prophets also went and watched from a distance as Elijah and Elisha stopped beside the Jordan River. Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it. The river divided, and the two of them went across on dry ground!
When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.”
As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress.
Elisha picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen when he was taken up. Then Elisha returned to the bank of the Jordan River. He struck the water with Elijah’s cloak and cried out, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” Then the river divided, and Elisha went across.
When the group of prophets from Jericho saw from a distance what happened, they exclaimed, “Elijah’s spirit rests upon Elisha!” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Notes on the Scripture
lijah 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, identified only as “Elijah the Tishbite,” ranting against a host of heathen deities. He lived approximately 900 years before Christ.
This was a low point for Israel, the time of Ahab and Jezebel, who hunted murdered hundreds of prophets and led Israel into worship of Ba’al. Elijah 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. Like Elijah, he was a peculiar prophet, who left behind no writings attributed to him. Don’t look in your Bible for the Book of Elijah or Elisha! Rather, they are known through a host of colorful anecdotes about them, chronicled by unknown authors. But although Elisha was a great prophet, and is also revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, he was not the great figurehead that Elijah was. Elijah was special, a direct forebear of the Messiah, carrying the promise of salvation not only in his words, but in his being.
Perhaps the most startling thing about Elijah was not his life, but his end; he did not die, but was carried directly to heaven by a whirlwind full of Hebrew chariots.