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Daily Devotion for December 14, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
Revelation 22:12-17 (English Std Version)
Alpha and Omega
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Notes on the Scripture
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter. Saying that "I am the Alpha and Omega" is a poetic way of restating that God is the very beginning of all things and will be the very end. There was nothing before Him, and there can be nothing after Him, because He is eternal.
The beautiful hymn highlighted in our devotional today, which prominently includes the phrase "He is Alpha and Omega", is a remarkable work. The tune is recognizable as Gregorian chant and was actually written at least 1,000 years ago: The first written copy of the tune has been dated to the 11th Century. It was titled Divinum Mysterium (divine mystery) and it really does have a beautiful, mysterious, and spiritual effect on the listener. It is sung here exactly as it might have been sung a thousand years ago, by an a capella male choir. There is some modern harmonization towards the end, but much of the performance is sung in ancient monastic style (developed long before the musical revolutions of renaissance and baroque stying): in unison, in unison with a drone note, or in eerie sounding parallel fifths.
Just as remarkable, the words of the hymn are 1,600 years old! Of course it was originally written in Latin by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, probably around 390 A.D. The first line in Latin is "Corde natus ex parentis ante mundi exordium". The superb translation into English which we currently use was done by John Mason Neale in 1854, and improved by Sir Henry Williams Baker in 1859
Alpha and Omega became a common Christian symbol in the early days of the church; like the fish, it was often used by Christians in areas where they were persecuted, and the authorities would immediately recognize a cross and investigate to identify Christians in order to arrest them. The painting below shows Christ holding a book in His hand, with the Greek letter alpha on one page and omega on the other.