Daily Devotion for August 2, 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.
defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head surrounded
with mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrow mars thy grandeur?
Can death thy bloom deflower?
O countenance whose splendor
the hosts of heaven adore!
In thy most bitter passion
my heart to share doth cry,
with thee for my salvation
upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
to stand thy cross beneath,
to mourn thee, well-beloved,
yet thank thee for thy death.
My days are few, O fail not,
with thine immortal power,
to hold me that I quail not
in death's most fearful hour;
that I may fight befriended,
and see in my last strife
to me thine arms extended
upon the cross of life.
Tune by Hans Leo Hassler (1600)
Arr. Johann Sebastian Bach
Translation by Robert Bridges (1899)
Prayer for the Morning
Good morning, dear Father; thank you for this day,
Help me to follow you in every way.
Let me speak as you speak, and do as you do;
Let me help others, as you help them, too.
Help me to be honest, don’t let me play games,
Help me to grow, yet still stay the same.
Help me not to be selfish, to give of my heart, my mind and my labor;
Give all - not just part.
Help me to love others, my family, my friends,
Bless all of my foes, help me make amends.
Help me be kind, Father, where I am needed, let
Me give warm attention, and see all needs are met.
Help keep me busy, to strive for the best,
Help me not to be lazy, but find needed rest.
Let me come to you, Father, throughout the day,
Often to thank you, often to pray.
To See Christ
Oh holy Christ, teach me to recognize your face in the people you put into my life today.
“The person who bears and suffers evils with meekness and silence, is the sum of a Christian man.” (John Wesley)
I dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.
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 51:1-4 (NKJV)
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
Mark 10:13-16 (ESV)
Let the Children Come to Me
nd they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Notes on the Scripture
There are two stories here. In one, Jesus allows the little children to come to him and be blessed. His message and his mission were to the weak and needy, and children form a special category of weakness and neediness. God’s love is equal and full to all, no matter how young or old. It is a bottomless well brought to earth so that everyone could have as much as he or she needs.
Children in the
Garden of Paradise (Dulac)
But Jesus uses the incident to make a point. Adults are full of experience of the world, full of knowledge and skepticism. There is much in Christian doctrine that is contrary both to our instincts, such as our desire for money or fame, and to all the lessons we have learned in meeting those instincts. Self-glorification, lying, cheating, stealing, abusing the poor and weak . . . one could make a long list of sins that we learn to commit in the interest of satisfying earthly appetites.
(Even here, virtue is sometimes rewarded in earthly terms. Forgiveness of those who hurt us, for example, is sometimes a losing strategy in earthly terms, but surprisingly often, forgiveness can reap unexpected rewards even during this life. But hope of earthly reward is not our motive.)
We should not equate moral innocence with intellectual ignorance. Throughout history, there have been misguided Christian leaders who hate and fear science; but nothing in the Bible, including this passage, tells us to be stupid. God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply, and He gave us brains and science to help us. On the opposite side of the coin, misguided and fearful scientists are unable to see the limitations of their knowledge. Some think that, by discovering a fact about the universe, they can disprove the very existence of God! But nothing in science truly contradicts anything in the Bible.
But such arguments are, in the end, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” They are meaningless in our relationship with God. Christ tells us to set these matters aside when we come to Him. We must forget that we are scientists or construction workers, Republicans or Democrats, Americans or Koreans or Indians, upper-class or poor, astrophysicists or subsistence farmers. We are born as brothers and sisters in slavery; to be saved, we must be born again, as brothers and sisters in freedom.
In Christ, much of what we have learned from experience becomes false. We must set aside our preconceptions, our very self-image, and revert to the empty slate of a child’s mind. Only then can the Holy Spirit lead to freedom. The resentments and pride we have acquired from our particular situation will melt away, and we can find it easy to accept Christ’s true blessing of eternal peace and joy.