Daily Devotion for August 10, 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.
Siya Hamba (We Are Walking in the Light of God), a traditional Zulu hymn, sung by Christian Scientist choirs around the world.
I hope you'll give this a try for at least a minute; it is very inspirational.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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,
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed me with the spiritual food of his Body and Blood. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord
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.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
The Hope for a Lost Soul
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.
But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.
Notes on the Scripture
There are people who have done terrible things in this world. Human beings are capable of unspeakable atrocities. Can the soul of such a person be saved?
The quote from Galatians reminds us that the Christian religion was founded, in large part, by a person who had committed such atrocities. Before he received Christ's grace and changed his name, Paul was known as Saul. He was a Roman citizen and a thug in the employ of the Sanhedrin, the Hebrew council in Jerusalem. His job was to travel around Israel, seek out people who taught the miracle of Christ's life and word, and arrest them. He would then herd them back to Jerusalem, to be tried and (generally) executed. He was, in short, a mass murderer, little different from the Nazi SS who rounded up Jews for transport to Auschwitz.
This is worth remembering when we ponder the troubling question of Christ's capacity to forgive a terrible criminal, and even more important for the person who has himself committed a terrible crime. God's capacity to love and forgive is infinite; it is so great that it is unknowable to the human mind. Every human being, no matter how depraved, is one of God's beautiful and beloved children and is capable of salvation.
God has a purpose in everything He does, although it is frequently impossible for us to know his purpose. We can see at least some of His purpose, however, in choosing Paul to write so much of the Bible. It is a demonstration to us that even the most evil of people can be saved, and not simply saved, but become a person of tremendous positive influence in leading others to salvation.