Daily Devotion for January 13, 2011
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.
John 1:6-9There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Notes on the Scripture
The first thing that strikes a reader of this passage is that John the Baptist was sent from God. Think about the importance of this claim. A man claims that God has sent him (or others make the claim about him). Imagine someone today who claims that he was "sent from God" -- would we believe him? Most likely, we would medicate him. If he didn't bathe or cut his hair or beard, we would also call him "homeless" and write letters to the editor about how mental institutions for the indigent should be better funded.
But what if this person attracted a wide following? Then, we would read articles about what a fraud he is; parents would send out deprogrammers to get their children out of the cult, before the person could steal all their money.
Yet, John the Baptist did not show any signs of insanity. He specifically wore hard clothes and lived in the wilderness as a religious observation. Nor, apparently, did he accept large donations. He wasn't trying to get rich. Nor did he claim to be something special; rather, he claimed that he was not this thing called "the Light". Rather, his only purpose was to bear witness. That is, he wanted to state that a person was coming who was, actually, the child of God.
We are often challenged by people who think that Christianity was made up, fabricated, a fairly tale. But it doesn't bear any of the earmarks of madness or of fraud. John the Baptist had nothing to gain by lying. He wasn't seeking political power. He wasn't seeking wealth. And the only reason to call him insane would be that you didn't believe him.
We were given free will, and we can believe that John the Baptist was sent by God, or not. But we do know, with a fair amount of certainty, that he was neither manipulating people for some ulterior motive, nor out of his mind. I think that, all in all, if someone like him were to appear and I encountered him, I would take him seriously, especially if the Christ had not yet come to earth. What do you think?