Daily Devotion for May 9, 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.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31)
Thanks for Life
O mighty God, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but Your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now Your love has illumined my path, and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of Your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give You thanks, with all who have come to know You, who call upon Your name. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer For the Damned
Dear Holy God, I remember today all those who spend their lives denouncing Christ; the sarcastic atheists who make fun of believers; the people whose careers are built on trying to discredit your Word; and all those who follow false, dead-end religions. Help me to expunge any anger I may feel when attacked by such people, or when I hear their misguided words. Let your Spirit be strong in me, to educate my tongue, if I am called upon to respond to one of them; and let me always answer in love and serenity.
Most of all, heavenly Father, forgive them; if it be Your will, bring the light of your salvation to them, heal them of their bitterness and self-absorption, that any and all of them might find the beauty of life in Christ, and be torn away from the clutches of Satan. In the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
[The anger I feel when atheists blaspheme.]
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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 149:1-4 (NKJV)
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise in the assembly of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
John 3:22-30 (ESV)
John the Baptist Testifies Again About Jesus
fter this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison).
Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Notes on the Scripture
John the Baptist, like Jesus, has a large following of disciples. He was much like a charismatic preacher in today’s world who starts a church. He didn’t have a building with a pulpit and a softball team, but he certainly had a sect of people who considered him their religious leader.
We see something that is a bit amusing. Like every congregation that has ever existed, people start bickering over silly things—in this case the details of ceremonial washing of some sort. Probably, eventually, the people who didn’t like the way ceremonial washing was done would have left and started their own church!
John’s followers then complain that yet another group has started baptizing, this one following Jesus, and that his sect is more popular than theirs. At this point, the pettiness ends. John lets them know that his mission is not to start a religion of which he is the head. He likens himself to a groomsman in a wedding. The bride belongs to the groom, not the groomsman, and when the groom arrives, the groomsmen take a back seat. Not begrudgingly, but with joy.
So it is with John. He has only been awaiting Christ’s arrival, awaiting the time when he can serve him. And now he must become less important, because the true leader has come.
We must remind ourselves of this lesson on a regular basis. The more we like a pastor, or a priest, or a devotional writer, the more important it becomes to realize that all of them are human and given to error. We do not follow them; we follow Christ and Christ alone.
We learn this more pointedly when Christ tells His disciples: “Do not be called Rabbi [or Teacher]; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10)”