Daily Devotion for December 7, 2010
18 Days 'Til Christmas
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Gracious God, Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life. Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church. Open my heart to the people who are different from me. In Jesus' name, I pray.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 135:1-4 (New Living Translation)
you who serve in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own special treasure.
Isaiah 24:1-6 (English Std. Version)
Judgment of the Earth
Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word.
The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish.
The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.
Notes on the Scripture
This grim prophecy from Isaiah foretells the future of the physical world, and of the physical humans who inhabit it. Our bodies will die some day. No matter whether we are priests or lords or servants, whatever our station in life has been, our lives as physical human beings will end. And just as we will become old and our bodies will become weak and sick, the earth will become desolate and eventually be "empty and utterly plundered".
While these thoughts are not pleasant, remembering the wages of sin is important. Without the certainly of the pain of death, we cannot appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us. Our joy at the birth of Christ, which we celebrate two weeks from now, is as great as our understanding of our future without Him.