Daily Devotion for September 28, 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.
The haunting Quando Corpus Morietur from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Performed here by Margaret Marshall, Soprano and Lucia Valentini Terrani, Contralto, with Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony.
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen
While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee. Amen
Prayer to Change to Better Serve God
Holy God, I believe that you will change people and many things, if asked and if it is your will. Change me Lord, if it is your will, for I would lead a better life. Touch me, I pray, great God whose touch transforms. Reach out your mighty hand to me, and to all who seek you in the name of your Son. Heal us, transform us, and make us whole; reach out your mighty hand to lift us up to serve you; touch me and all of us this very day, O Lord, that our own hands may bring your hope and healing to this broken world.
Prayer for the Rich and Famous
Heavenly Father, I pray especially today for those who have great wealth, for those who hold great power; for the rich, the famous, the beautiful, the talented, the intelligent: for all who have been given an unusual abundance of earthly gifts and enjoy the accolades of their fellow man. Guide them in the use of their gifts, O Lord, but especially, have mercy on them, for with great blessings come great temptation to pride.
I pray especially for those who are so blinded by earthly gifts that they deny Your name, or if they believe, are blinded to their sin by their earthly glory and cannot find their way to the light. Grant them the blessing of your Holy Spirit, and lead them to salvation. Let me always forgive them when their pride or privilege irritates my own pride; give me understanding and not judgment; lead me to love them as you have taught us to love all men. For judgment is yours alone, and they deserve your mercy no less than I.
In Christ's name, I pray,
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What verse in the Bible should we consider, before we lay into Barack Obama or Donald Trump?
What is Love?
To love someone means to see him as God intended him.
~ Feodor Dostoevsky
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 (ESV)
Marriage to Unbelievers
o the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Notes on the Scripture
In this long section about sex and marriage, Paul addresses the often difficult situation of a mixed marriage, where one spouse is a Christian and one is not. He recognizes that the situation may be intolerable for the non-Christian spouse; most of these situations at the time would have occurred when one spouse found Christ after the marriage had occurred, which would have come as quite a shock to the other, whether they were Jewish or Gentile.
One can imagine an episode on Oprah or Dr. Phil, “My husband became a Christian, what do I do?”, with several distraught panelists.
But the decision in these cases lies with the non-Christian spouse. If they want to continue the marriage, the Christian partner should go along with it. It is good for the nonbelieving spouse and the children. But if they nonbeliever want to end it, the Christian partner should not go chasing after them, with the thought that the one will save the other. Rather, the Christian spouse should enjoy the freedom and peace of not being tied to a nonbeliever.
Notice the odd caveat in the first sentence, “I say (I, not the Lord).” We take most of Paul’s writing as inspired, that is, that he was transmitting God’s Word through himself as a vehicle. Paul states his inspiration without cavil; he spends most of Galatians 1 and 2 explaining that he received his gospel directly from Christ and that other major apostles, such as James and Peter, had accepted that “that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.” (Gal. 1:11-12)
But here, he writes that a statement is from him, not the Lord. It would appear that he is differentiating between the inspired text of most of his writing, which is the Word of God, and today’s passage, which comes from Paul himself. Is this passage, then, to be treated as Scripture, or simply as advice from Paul? I do not know the answer; there are arguments to be made on both sides. To me, it matters little. I would be inclined to follow advice from Paul even speaking from his own mind, for he was immersed in the Spirit as few have been.