Daily Devotion for September 13, 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.
1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.
2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.
3. I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.
4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment–he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.
6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”
Music by George Coles, 1792-1858
Lyrics by James Montgomery, 1771-1854
To Have One Will with Christ
Grant me, most merciful Jesus, your grace, that it may be with me and labor with me and dwell within me, this day and all the days of my short life.
Give me grace always to desire and seek what is most acceptable to you; whatever is most pleasing in your sight, let me do that. Let my will always follow yours; let your will be mine. Reform me into a spiritual perfection impossible for the world, which might be gained only by your grace; and help me to live in accord with it.
Let there be between you and me only one will, so that I may love what you love and hate what you hate; make me unfit to want anything that is unworthy in your sight, or to disdain whatever you might approve. Save me, Christ, I pray, out of love; for unworthy I might be, yet I love you dearly.
Heavenly Lord, let me always remember that the Holy Spirit who guides and protects me is the same Spirit who guides and protects all Christians. We are one in your Spirit, and the differences that divide us are the work of Satan. He is powerful in the world, Lord; and only you are strong enough to protect us against him.
Let me always seek unity. Let me call on your Spirit for power when I feel separated from my brother or sister, the power of reconciliation, that we might find the unity and harmony in which you have commanded us to live. Let me never think that the Spirit conforms to my individual personality; but let me seek to conform myself to the one true Spirit of God. In Christ’s name, I pray.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
For Those Praying with Me
Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don’t know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.
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.
Isaiah 40:8 (ESV)
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Lamentations 3:1-18 (The Message)
am the man who has seen trouble,
trouble coming from the lash of God’s anger.
He took me by the hand and walked me
into pitch-black darkness.
Yes, he’s given me the back of his hand
over and over and over again.
He turned me into a scarecrow
of skin and bones, then broke the bones.
He hemmed me in, ganged up on me,
poured on the trouble and hard times.
He locked me up in deep darkness,
like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.
He shuts me in so I’ll never get out,
manacles my hands, shackles my feet.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.
He sets up blockades with quarried limestone.
He’s got me cornered.
He’s a prowling bear tracking me down,
a lion in hiding ready to pounce.
He knocked me from the path and ripped me to pieces.
When he finished, there was nothing left of me.
He took out his bow and arrows
and used me for target practice.
He shot me in the stomach
with arrows from his quiver.
Everyone took me for a joke,
made me the butt of their mocking ballads.
He forced rotten, stinking food down my throat,
bloated me with vile drinks.
He ground my face into the gravel.
He pounded me into the mud.
I gave up on life altogether.
I’ve forgotten what the good life is like.
I said to myself, “This is it. I’m finished.
God is a lost cause.”
Notes on the Scripture
Lamentations is not the most popular book of the Bible. It describes Israel’s pain after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon and the Babylonians’ taking of the Hebrews into slavery. Moreover, we have used a translation we rarely read, The Message. But the slangy modern vernacular has a lot of impact when it is applied to Jeremiah’s writing.
Christians frequently seem to lose their faith or curse God at time of extreme pain or misery. It’s a condition often addressed in the Old Testament—the Jews had a lot of opportunities to regret their sin, given the directness of God’s wrath! God gave them victory and comfort when they were faithful; destruction and slavery when they strayed, usually by worshipping idols.
There is a modern “pop” view of God, which tends to distort the Biblical depiction of God into some sort of cosmic benevolent uncle who would never, ever hurt us. People want to think that God will not punish them. But that is not what the Bible tells us. We see that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).” It was God Himself, not Satan, who drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
Lamentations has an important message for us. Here, we see an angry God visiting misery on the apostate Hebrew nation. Tomorrow, we will see Jeremiah’s faith in God’s ultimate mercy, His plan to redeem us from our own wrongdoing.