Daily Devotion for September 27, 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.
Most of us don’t hear much jazz at church, but this jubilant anthem at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ successfully melds a beloved old hymn with a hot tenor saxophone accompaniment. Sing along!
Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.
Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.
Thou the spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee,
Whom in Heav’n but Thee.
Music by William H. Doane, 1868
Lyrics by Frances “Fanny” J. Crosby, 1868
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Saint Francis’ Prayer of Praise
You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong;
You are great.
You are the Most High,
You are almighty,
You, holy Father, are
King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One,
Lord God, all good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love,
You are wisdom,
You are humility,
You are endurance.
You are rest,
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches,
And you suffice for us.
You are beauty,
You are gentleness.
You are our protector,
You are our guardian and defender,
You are courage.
You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith,
Our great consolation.
You are our eternal life,
Great and wonderful Lord,
Prayer of Resolve
I bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day and throughout the week to come.
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.
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.
~ A. W. Tozer, from The Pursuit of God
Matthew 13:47-50 (ESV)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad.
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Notes on the Scripture
hrist loved to illustrate and explain his teachings with different kinds of metaphors and parables. In today’s example (technically a “simile”), he likens his work to that of a fisherman who has thrown his net into the sea. The net is Christ’s word, and the fish are the people that hear His words.
Some of the fish are good, which stand for the people who hear Christ’s words and believe in Him; like good fish, which are saved by being put into a basket, the believers will be saved by angels who will take them to heaven. Like bad fish, which are discarded or destroyed, those who hear but do not follow will be thrown by the angels into a furnace of fire.
It is not often that Christ speaks of the horrors of hell. The current cartoon version of hell always involves fire, and this passage is one source of that depiction. But it is not a cartoon. Rather, it is a direct statement that those who do not accept Christ will suffer terribly, as if they were put into a furnace of fire.
This teaching has been lost in today’s humanistic, “culturally sensitive” version of what happens after death. Movies, television, and those who comfort mourners tell terrible lies about the status of those who have died. They say that the deceased is “in a better place” because he has led a “good life.” They never speak the truth about what has become of those who die outside Christ’s grace: that they are damned to suffer torment for eternity. Fear of God has become politically incorrect.
I’m not suggesting that one walk up to a widow at a funeral and say, “too bad he was an atheist and is going to spend his eternal life in torment,” or “if you think the struggle with cancer was bad, just think about what he’s going through in hell.” In the first place, God has not asked for our opinion about how He will judge any specific person. Just the opposite: see Matthew 7:1-5. And besides, such cruelty to someone grieving is just not an act of love.
But it is important that we always recall, with clarity and precision, the fate of the unredeemed. We need to remember what is at stake.