Daily Devotion for September 24, 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.
A Puritan Prayer
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Your care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to Your ways. Mold me completely into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise. Let those around see me living by Your Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clothed in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, and hands.
May I travel swampy paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In every transaction let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to Your wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord and Savior,
For All Who Serve Others
O Lord our heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; I pray for your blessing on all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of their fellow men. Endue them with wisdom, patience, and courage, that they may strengthen the weak and raise up those who fall; and, being inspired by your love, may worthily minister in your name to the suffering, the friendless, the lost, and the needy.
For the sake of him who laid down his life for us, Jesus Christ, I pray,
[Thanks for all those who spend their lives helping others.]
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 31:30-31 (DP)
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who honors the Lord shall be praised.
She will have fruit from her hands,
And her works will sing her praises from the city gates.
1 Thessalonians 5:6-10 (DP)
Prepare for The Day of the Lord
So ask yourself: Who does a thief take by surprise? Those who are in darkness. And who lives in darkness? The very children of darkness, those who drink the wine of night and sleep in drunken stupor – it is they who will be caught unprepared. They will have no chance of escaping God’s wrath.
But we are children of light, standing in the sunshine of our Lord. God has not destined us to suffer His wrath, but to attain salvation through Christ Jesus. Christ died for us, the living and the dead, that we might live with Him for eternity. So stand always in the daylight of Christ, sober and alert, wearing your faith and love like a suit of armor, and the hope of your salvation like a helmet.
Notes on the Scripture
We have discussed at some length Paul's metaphor, distinguishing between children of light and children of darkness; and we could do a lot more with it, had we “world enough and time.” Like hidden gold, the richness of this poetic passage is available only if we dig for it.
nce we understand what Paul is talking about, when he describes those who are “intoxicated of night,” we realize that it describes anyone who believes that the television news tells us the truth. The popular media are founded on assumptions that are rooted in darkness: that the surface events of this world have an ultimate meaning that is defined by the events themselves, or that truth is determined by majority vote, or that one's opinion is somehow important relative to the truth, or that the truth can be found by subjecting events to the logic of the human mind.
The media, and those who follow them closely, seduce the viewer. If we listen, for a great example, to enough political coverage, we form an opinion, and we become more and more convinced of both the importance of politics and the importance of our personal opinion being realized. We are thus seduced in compromising the fundamental truths of Christ. For He tells us, “lay up your treasure in heaven” and “no man can serve two masters.”
We previously discussed the idea of “indirect hortatory” — describing something without telling the listener to do it, but in the hope that they will “get the message”. We see it here. Paul tells us that we are the children of the sunshine, not destined to suffer God's wrath; but we might easily read this as telling us that those who are not children of the sunshine should seek to become so at once, lest they do suffer God's wrath. It will come unexpectedly and, for the unprepared, with anguish beyond speaking.
At the end of the passage, we see an early version of an extended metaphor that Paul will develop fully in Ephesians 6, the “armor of God.” Ephesians was a prison epistle, not written until the end of Paul's life (or at least the end of his known writing career). There is a strong inference, then, that he must have used the armor of God throughout his life, in his preaching. We are hearing bits of a sermon Paul preached time and again, in synagogues and Gentile houses; and what a sermon it must have been! He convinced countless thousands of people, based on nothing more than his spoken testimony, to abandon their lives, their families, their communities, and often give up their very lives, based on nothing but his speech.
He did not tell them, “Take control of the government,” or “Maximize your potential,” or “Get rich in real estate.” He told them, “Put on the armor of God!” And they did it.