Daily Devotion for September 29, 2010
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
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.
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.
Music by Joseph P. Webster
Lyrics by Sanford F. Bennett, 1868
Prayer of a Nigerian Christian
God in heaven, you have helped my life to grow like a tree. Now something has happened. Satan, like a bird, has carried in one twig of his own choosing after another. Before I knew it he had built a dwelling place and was living in it. Today, My Father, I am throwing out both the bird and the nest.
Because Of You
Because you picked me up, when I struggled to get through.
Because you healed my heart, when it was thrown and shattered.
Because you gave me hope, when it seemed so out of reach.
Because you filled me with peace, when chaos flowed through my veins.
Because you showed me the light, when there was only darkness.
Because you gave me comfort, when my voice cried out in pain.
Because you reassured me, when the doubts screamed in my head.
Because you kept me going, when there seemed nowhere to go.
Because you sustained me with strength, when weakness became all I knew.
Because you came and stayed, when everyone else turned around and left.
Because you gave me a purpose, when life seemed so pointless.
Because you restored my happiness, when life seemed to snatch it away.
Because you filled this emptiness, when the void echoed with loneliness.
Because you helped me let it all go, when I gripped the tightest to hold on.
Because you showed me the beauty of life, when the world showed me nothing but hate and corruption.
Because you gave me a better life, when the old one fought to come back.
Because I am nothing without you, nothing but a hopeless being.
Because only You could tear down my wall of pride, and instead build it back up with love and humbleness.
Because of all this, I give you my life Lord.
I will put all my fears and failures in Your hands, my worries that consume me, my pain that destroys me.
You were always there, even when I rejected You.
Because of all You are, my life, oh God, is yours.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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 39:1 (NKJV)
I said, “I will guard my ways,
Lest I sin with my tongue;
I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,
While the wicked are before me.”
Romans 6:1-4 (ESV)
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Notes on the Scripture
aul poses a rhetorical question that many new Christians must have asked: Since, now that we believe in Christ, all of our sins are forgiven by God‘s grace, should we just keep sinning? We are not saved by good works; so should we bother with them? Or even: Should we sin more, so that God‘s grace will be even greater?
It is a more logical question than it sounds to us today, because we have been raised largely in a culture of humanism, where people are judged by their works. But consider the logic of it. If we really believe that we are saved and all of our sins forgiven solely by our belief in Christ, why should we worry about sin? Some early Christians adopted this belief, which came to be known as “antinomianism” and was eventually declared an official heresy by the Catholic church. But in the first century A.D., new Christians had difficulty refuting the logic of it.
But Paul can answer it! We are, initially, baptized into death; the death of Christ. Early Christians, like some denominations today, baptized by immersion. The person being baptized was dunked, completely underwater. When we undergo baptism, even in denominations where it is done by sprinkling water on the head, we are symbolically drowned.
Most Christians know that we must “die and be born again” in Christ, for it is a famous saying of Christ himself, but we do not take time to reflect on the first part of it. We must die, as Christ died on the cross, before we can join him in resurrection.
Paul calls this “dying to sin.” It is easy to say, but hard to understand.
Old habits die hard. People who immigrate have trouble leaving their old culture behind. Sometimes they resist learning the language and habits of their new country. This has some similarity to baptism. When we are baptized, we leave the world of the flesh and live in the world of the resurrected Jesus. We are “dead” to our old culture.
Why, then, would we keep the habits of our old culture, the culture of the flesh, rather than adopting the habits of our new life? Once we believe in God, the stronger our belief, the less inclined we are to commit sin. This is why renewal is so important. As we renew and strengthen our belief, our temptation to sin weakens; the Holy Spirit comes alive in us and guides us away from evil. We die to sin and leave its world, and live in our new world, a world of goodness and righteousness.