Daily Devotion for September 29, 2010
U.K. - Daylight Savings Ends
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.
We join the Orthodox Mission in the small town of Valdosta, Georgia (US), for Sunday worship. The video is a pastiche of photos of Orthodox worship in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, you make me glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son my Lord: Give me the peace to worship you with my whole heart and mind, forgetting the cares of the world, and dwelling with you for a short moment with my entire being. And give me this day such blessing through my worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in living knowledge of your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the Whole State of Christ’s Church
Almighty and everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men; Give me first a Spirit of fellowship with all those who pray with me, who I cannot see; and let each of us know that we pray in the unity of Spirit, although we are all separated from one another in body;
We all, and each of us, humbly beseech thee most mercifully to accept our alms and oblations, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant that all those who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.
We beseech thee also, so to direct and dispose the hearts of all Christian Rulers, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.
Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and other Ministers, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.
And to all thy People give thy heavenly grace; and especially to those who pray together in Spirit at this time; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.
And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.
And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate,
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is 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.
The Empty Pew
I am an empty pew.
I vote for the world as against God.
I deny the Bible.
I mock at the preached Word of God.
I rail at Christian fellowship.
I laugh at prayer.
I break the Fourth Commandment;
I am a witness to solemn vows broken.
I advise men to eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
I join my voice with every atheist and rebel against human and divine law.
I am an empty pew.
I am a grave in the midst of the congregation.
Read my epitaph and be wise.
Psalm 108:1-4 (NKJV)
O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Awake, lute and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples,
And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your mercy is great above the heavens,
And Your truth reaches to the clouds.
Deuteronomy 10:17-21 (NLT)
or the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.
He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.
Notes on the Scripture
The concept of bribing God is so nonsensical that it is funny, when you stop to think about it. Of course, it happens all the time. We attempt to strike a bargain: “God, just get me out of this and I promise I will never sin again”. How many times and how many variations of this prayer have been said by all kinds and conditions of people? But it is absurd. You can’t bribe God with promises of future good behavior. And moreover, such prayers are usually said to gain some kind of tangible reward, such as living through an ordeal, or not getting caught by the police or your parents or some other person who is going to punish you, or winning a game. These are not things God promises to anyone, saint or sinner.
The only time such a prayer might work is if we are asking for God’s forgiveness, but it is not a bribe. It is good and right to promise God not to repeat sinful behavior, or at least to try, when you are praying for forgiveness; but God’s forgiveness is, in effect, free for the asking. All you have to do is believe in Him, love Him, and ask for mercy in the name of Christ; it is God’s grace that saves us from judgment, not our promises or even our past works.