Daily Devotion for August 11, 2018
Christ is dimly seen in the center of the painting; a man appears to fall into His heart. The Perpignan railway station—the center of the universe, represented by a railway car—is represented just above. Humble people face Him. Their sacks of grain symbolize human experience. “This train don’t carry no gamblers.”
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.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Music and Lyrics by Frederick H. Lehman, 1917
For Joy Among the Children of God
Heavenly Father, you take no pleasure in wickedness and evil has no place in your kingdom; the boastful will not stand in your sight. You hate all the workers of evil. You destroy those who lie and defraud; you abhor the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
Bless me that I will not be among them, for I would come into your house in the multitude of your mercy. In fear of you and in the hope of mercy, I worship you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness. Make Your way straight before my face. Let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them shout for joy, because you defend them; those who love your name, grant them mercy and joy.
And evermore let your word spread throughout the world, and make me your servant in this task. In Christ’s name, I pray,
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
O God, who is near us always, I thank you for all the good gifts with which you have filled my life; for love that makes life beautiful, for all thoughts that uplift and gladden, for faith to believe and strength to attain, for every experience which humbles and teaches the need of you. Let me never doubt that, having led me thus far, you will lead me to the end. I wish to serve you; show me how I can do it best. Graciously look upon me and use me as you will. And grant that I may employ all of your gifts to the end of setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
The story of Jesus healing a man, who had been blind from birth, takes up the entirety of a chapter in the Bible. Which chapter?
For the person who prays in his heart, the whole world is a church.
~ Sylvain of Athos
Romans 1:13-17 (ESV)
I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Notes on the Scripture
wo notes on the language: First, the word “brothers” was used in Greek to mean “brothers and sisters”; so there is no innuendo that the letter is addressed to men. Second, the term “barbarians” means Gentiles who had not adopted Greek culture, who would have been a minority in Rome—many would have been slaves brought home from foreign wars.
The first paragraph is straightforward. Paul wants to visit Rome and help convert the lost. He has been given a special mission to non-Jews and so he is eager to visit Rome in person.
The second two paragraphs are a little harder to understand fully. Paul is “not ashamed” to preach the Gospel, because the Gospel is our salvation. I am not convinced that “ashamed” is the best translation for the Greek word(epaischunomai) used here. Paul’s meaning seems to be more that he is not hesitant or reluctant to preach the Gospel to anyone, any time, anywhere. No matter what obstacles are set before him, he will preach it, because it reveals how we can become righteous in God’s eyes -- but only if we have faith in God. It can only be revealed successfully “from faith to faith” — by a person who has faith, to another person who has faith in God.
This is because faith in God, and living as if we have faith in God, is a hallmark of the righteous. We cannot be righteous in God’s eyes unless we live like we have faith in Him.
Most of us are ashamed or hesitant, to one degree or another, to proclaim the gospel. Our embarrassment in telling the truth is a temptation to sin. Society leads us into this temptation. Although we are not beaten, jailed, or executed for speaking the truth, much of society will belittle us for speaking about Christ.
Yet, how can we not speak a truth that is salvation? Would we not show other people where the life jackets were stored if our ship had hit an iceberg? Do we hesitate to tell others when we hear about a study, that eating a certain food will prolong our lives? Paul is eager to preach the Gospel, because it is the power of God; knowing it is the difference between being lost to sin and becoming reconciled to God for the rest of our lives, both on earth and in the afterlife. It is the key to the Kingdom of God.
This figure in hell (Minos, one of the three judges of the underworld in Greek mythology), from the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, has a humorous story behind it. Baigio da Cesena, a papal master of ceremonies, criticized Michelangelo's work saying that nude figures had no place in such a sacred place, and that the paintings would be more at home in a public tavern. Michelangelo therefore used Cesena as his model for one of the figures in hell. When Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff explained that he had no jurisdiction over hell and that the portrait would have to remain!