Daily Devotion for February 10, 2019
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.
Today’s Sunday anthem, from the Northern Lights Chorale, urges us to action.
1. Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.
2. Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
and end the night of wrong.
3. Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
her strength unequal to her task;
rise up, and make her great!
4. Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where his feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
rise up, O men of God!
Music by William H. Walter, 1825-1893
Lyrics by William P. Merrill, 1867-1954
A Prayer Before Reading Scripture
Open my eyes, gracious Lord, as I turn to your word. I long to know you, to understand life, and to be changed. Examine me, Lord, by the floodlight of your truth.
O Changeless God,
Under the conviction of the Spirit I learn that
The more I do, the worse I am,
The more I know, the less I know,
The more holiness I have, the mores sinful I am,
The more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!
I have a wild heart
And cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer,
By thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
By knowing thou hast saved my soul.
Child’s drawing of a cross #4
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
Who sins more safely because grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them,
Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for his is saved,
Who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
With no spiritual understanding,
No desire for the Lord’s Day,
Ever learning but never reaching the truth,
Always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
With nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
So I forget so easily the lessons learned,
And thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
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 111:1, 7-10 (NKJV)
I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They stand fast forever and ever,
And are done in truth and uprightness.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has commanded His covenant forever:
Holy and awesome is His name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.
Luke 9:57-62 (ESV)
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus is on the road, headed for Jerusalem and death. As he travels, though, he make these three slightly obtuse comments to his disciples who are walking with him.
he first comment probably was occasioned by earlier verses in Luke 9, in which we are told that he attempted to stop in a Samaritan village but was told to keep moving. Jesus literally had nowhere to sleep for the night. But he also lets us know, by implication, how difficult it might be for the disciples to follow him. In one sense, he is about to leave his earthly home altogether, and the disciples will not be able to follow him physically, at all, for the time being.
The second and third paragraphs are easier to interpret. Two people tell Jesus that they will follow him, as soon as they get done with some other things. We face parallel situations in our own lives, day after day. We want to do something of ultimate importance, but there is something else that we think requires our immediate attention.
We postpone what is important for something immediate. We will go on a diet or start exercising next week, after the party. We will spend some time with our children when we have finished doing the cleaning or yardwork or whatever. We will go visit a sick relative but not today because of . . . fill in the reason. And most important, we will begin to pay some attention to Christ and the salvation of our immortal souls—but there is something else we have to do first.
It is the road to regret. Think about what you really want to accomplish and do that; don’t let yourself get sidelined by a thousand little chores or pleasures that will eat up your entire day, your entire week, your entire life.
But even more compelling, Christ demands that we put down whatever we are doing—even something as important as saying goodbye to our families or burying our dead parents—to follow Him. Almost all of us wear shackles of inertia, excuses, habits, expectations from others. We can only follow Christ to the extent we can cast them off!