Daily Devotion for September 29, 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.
Our Saturday “Oldies” song was written by Bob Dylan after he found Christ, performed here by Aaron Neville. It is wondrous, indeed, to hear Dylan’s inimitable poetic style in a gospel song.
You might like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You might be a socialite with a long string of pearls,
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, serve somebody,
Serve somebody, serve somebody
It might be the devil or it might be the Lord;
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
You might be a rock 'n' roll man, prancing on the stage,
Plenty of drugs at your command and women in a cage,
You might be a businessman or some high degree thief,
They may call you 'Doctor', they may call you 'Chief',
Now, you may be a State Trooper, you might be a young Turk,
You may even be the head of some great big TV network.
You may be rich or poor and you may be blind or chained,
You might be living in another country under another name,
Maybe a construction worker working on a home,
Might be living in a mansion, you might live in a dome;
You may own guns, you may even own tanks,
You may be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks,
Now you can call me Terry or you might call me Moore,
You may call me David or you might call me Coe,
You can call me RJ or you can call me Ray,
You can call me anything, I don't care what you say,
Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan
To Keep Christ in Mind During the Day
Oh Lord Christ, it is so, so very difficult sometimes to keep you at the front of my mind and in the center of my heart, to let you guide my thoughts and actions during the pressure and rush of the day. Much of the time I completely forget you; I act from my own mind and heart, living in this world. It is so bad on some days that I will rush through whatever prayers I say, or fail to read your Word with any conviction.
This is not how I want to live. Please, Lord God, so fill me with your Holy Spirit that I have you in mind with my every thought and act. Lead me to take that first step every day to open my Bible, and to fold my hands and close my eyes. Let me put you first, Lord God, and realize that the pressures of the world are illusory: but your Word is forever.
For Those Who Have Died, and Those Who Mourn
Almighty God, Father of all mercies and giver of all comfort: Deal graciously, I pray you, with those who mourn, that casting every care upon you, they may know the consolation of your love and the safety of those who have departed this life in the faith and fear of Christ.
And look after all such souls, I pray, (and especially _______________), that they may reunited with their loved ones when Christ gathers the faithful to him. In the hope and faith of the resurrection, I give all of my confidence to you and you only, oh mighty God, that you will bring all of your saints to rest, where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life and joy everlasting.
[When am I most likely to forget God?]
O good shepherd, seek me out, and bring me home to your fold again. Deal favourably with me according to your good pleasure, until I may dwell in your house all the days of my life, and praise you forever and ever with them that are there.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Change your thoughts and you change your world.
~ Norman Vincent Peale
1 Peter 4:15-19 (ESV)
Crime and Punishment
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Notes on the Scripture
In today’s passage, Peter sums up a great lesson he has developed throughout the first four chapters of his epistle. Christians will sometimes suffer punishment from the societies in which they live. The degree of suffering varies widely; from great punishments such as being tortured and murdered, to the tiniest insult, of being called stupid or simply not being included in a group. We must expect such suffering and be ready to meet it.
hat we must not expect is to be punished for committing civil crimes, such as theft. Except where something directly conflicts with our profession of belief, we must respect the government. Christ himself told us to pay our taxes, for instance. And this does not just apply to crimes, but also to unnecessary activities that anger others outside the church.
There is one law we must certainly not obey, for at that time, it was often against the law to worship Jesus Christ, and the penalty was sometimes death. In such cases, we must endure our suffering as Christ endured his, and as Peter would eventually endure his own.
It is not likely that we will be called upon to demonstrate our faith by suffering arrest, imprisonment, exile or death. But the very lack of a great threat can make us spiritually flabby. A Christian in Rome in the first centuries A.D. would hardly have noticed if somebody called him an “idiot” or “moron.” His faith was muscular; it had to be, to meet the threats of the time. But a Christian today would probably be agitated by such an insult; he might lose sleep and would find it hard to be gentle in his response.
Freedom of worship makes us complacent; how to avoid this? Like an athlete who must stay in shape in the off-season, we must exercise. We must “work out” our faith by reading and prayer every day, to be strong enough to meet whatever suffering might come our way. We must stay prepared. The hour is always at hand.
The Stoning of St. Stephen, Pietro da Cortona c. 1660