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Daily Devotion for June 27, 2020
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
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, this morning I pray for those who are beginning to know Christ: may You strengthen them on their journey. I pray for all children, and for those who take care of them, especially those who awaken them to faith.
I pray for the ill and those who are ending their lives in loneliness: Oh Lord, give them the strength they need. I pray for those who are condemned to prison or exile: Lord, sustain their hope. I pray that the fire of your Spirit may renew the energies of all your saints and enable us to welcome those who do not know you. And finally, Lord, may your Church be constantly renewed, in prayer, in your Word and in your worship; in Christ’s name, this I ask,
Thanks for the Word of God
Prayer of Resolve
I bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What verse tells us not to add to God’s words?
Psalm 51:10-11 (KJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy holy spirit from me.
1 Thess. 3:6-8 (DP)
ut now, all is well. Timothy has returned with the good news that your faith and love remain strong. He says that you miss us as much as we miss you. What a comfort this reassurance of your steadfastness has been; we have our own share of distress and affliction, remember, so news of your faithfulness really lifted our spirits. If you remain faithful, we continue to live.
6 But now having come Timothy to us from you and telling the good news to us the faith and the love of you, and that you have remembrance of us good at all times, longing us to see just as also we you,
7 because of this we were reassured, brothers, about you in all the distress and affliction of us on account of the of you faith,
8 for now we live if you stand fast in lord.
Notes on the Scripture
Walking the Walk
When Paul says Timothy came back “telling good news” he uses the Greek equivalent of “evangelize” (euaggelizo). The word does have, as one of its definitions, bringing generic good news, but the New Testament uses it only to refer to the Gospel of Christ. Knowing this, Paul’s point becomes clear: The Thessalonians’ behavior is the Gospel; their lives are the message of Christ.
He has previously said that they imitated Christ, and now he strongly implies that the imitate Him in the most profound sense: They are an example of the Word made flesh, to the degree it is possible for normal (non-divine) people. They do not simply understand and practice the Gospel; they embody the Gospel. This is an early hint of a doctrine that will be explained, explicitly and at length, in later letters. They have been reborn and the Holy Spirit does not simply speak to them, but also inhabits them.
Paul next recounts that the Thessalonians “remember” him, exactly the same term he used to demonstrate his continuing feelings toward them in the very first verses of the letter. In fact, if we look at 1:2-5, we see striking similarities. He thus honors them by comparing them to himself. They have advanced to the point where they support Paul and his group, just as Paul supports them. He wants to visit them to encourage them in their tribulation, but it has become a two-way street, for they now encourage Paul in his own tribulation.
But the element of teacher to student remains. The memory the Thessalonians have is “good” in the basic sense: the Greek term used does not mean “fond” or anything like that, but “pertaining to meeting a high standard of merit.” Translations of it as “kindly” (NASB), or even worse, “pleasant memories” (NIV), suck the guts out of the passage.
Their memory is good, because they remember what he taught them; they live according to the model he gave them, in word and deed. Today we associate the master-disciple relationship with the Orient, but it was powerful in both Greek and Hebrew society. “A disciple continued to be guided by the exemplary life of his teacher in his absence by remembering him.” (Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians, p. 207.)
The element of both human fondness and Christian love are present; but the accuracy of their memory is critical, just as the accuracy of the apostles’ memory of Christ is critical.
Finally, we get a difficult statement: “If you stand fast in the Lord, we live.” Perhaps this sounds dramatic, but Paul is serious. Paul feels that the unity of believers has paramount importance, to their own lives and to the spread of Christian faith. He echoes Christ’s sentiment: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine . . . ” (John 15:4) The most salient instance of bearing fruit, especially for Paul, is bringing others to Christ. To bring others to Christ, to live in harmony with them, and to see them live in purity and love with one another, is life itself.