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.
Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
Holy Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with Thee.
Blessed art Thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of Thy womb;
For Thou hast given birth
to the Savior of our souls.
Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Prayer to Bear My Burden
Holy God, use me today as may suit you; this is my prayer, to submit myself totally to your Holy Spirit, showing the face of Christ to the world in my love and my proclamation of your majesty. If the world hates me for it, let me remember that this hatred is for you. If I be like Christ, should I resent a crown of thorns? Put your words in my mouth, O Holy Spirit, whatever the cost, and teach me to bear any burden with the joy of eternal salvation. For every stripe on my back, put an angel in my heart to heal me. In the name and faith of Christ, I pray,
To Cast Off the World
Give me thy grace, good Lord:
To set the world at nought;
To set my mind fast upon thee,
And not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths;
To be content to be solitary,
Not to long for the world’s company;
Little and little to utterly cast off the world,
And rid my mind of all the business thereof.
[In how many ways do I conform myself to “this age” — our current society — rather than to the Word of God?]
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
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 22:6-8 (NKJV)
But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
“He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”
John 15:18-27 (ESV)
The World Will Hate You
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
Notes on the Scripture
reviously, we read the Scripture in which Jesus told us that we would be his friends. We are now the cool crowd; we are a clique, with one major difference between most cliques — anyone who wants to join can do so and will be treated as a full member immediately. The most powerful man who ever walked on earth has declared that we are his friends.
Still, there are a lot of people who hate us. Christ himself warned us that there would be. We are widely hated or at least disdained, looked down upon as deficient in intelligence. We are compared to people who hunt for paranormal activity or believe in alien abduction. We are branded as hypocrites. People think we judge and condemn them.
It is hard to understand this hatred. Anyone who read the Bible and understands Christ’s message could not possibly hold such an attitude, unless they are utterly lost to evil. But many people have been misled about what it means to be a true Christian, that is, a person who believes in, and follows, the teachings of Jesus Christ.
And many, many people who have grown up in a church have fallen away to the temptations and philosophy of the world. Some cling so tightly to some aspect of worldly pleasure that they do not understand how happy they would be, if they would fasten their gaze on God instead of sex, money, prestige, or power. They do not understand how powerful Christ’s forgiveness can be, or how completely he understands our weakness to sin.
Others have simply been misled by people who have misrepresented the Gospel to them. I heard this message on Sixty Minutes, of all places, when they did a piece on Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan (now Cardinal Dolan). Dolan is a real Biblical Christian and a force in the Catholic Church. He has vowed to emphasize the loving and forgiving aspect of Christian faith, instead of the condemnatory, rule-based message that has so often characterized Christian teaching. (He is a “conservative,” by the way, and has no thought of abandoning the traditional teachings of his denomination.)
I think he has part of the answer to the disturbing abandonment of Christianity in North America and Europe. Rather than trying to make the church (in the wide sense) more “relevant” to modern society by abandoning the word of the Bible, he seeks to attract people by teaching the New Testament instead of the Old, by teaching the God of love, as personified by the life and teachings of Jesus.