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Daily Devotion for January 14, 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 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.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
The Right to Become the Children of God
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Notes on the Scripture
The first sentence gives one of the important concepts of Christianity. When Christ was born, God entered the world that He had made, but the world did not know him. It did not recognize him and it did not partake of him. By becoming human, God humbled himself to be one of the creatures he had made. But humanity did not know him and did not receive him.
When John tells us that the world did not receive Christ, there are several simultaneous meanings. The most apparent is in the old-fashioned meaning of "receive", harkening back to the time when people more commonly used the term "receive visitors". When there were no telephones, people would call on each other in person. The friendly thing to do would be to invite them in for conversation and perhaps some refreshment, i.e., receive them. The alternative was to have the butler or maid tell the visitors that the person was "not at home".
But this is a philosophical passage, and John means also that people did not invite Jesus into their hearts and minds. They did not receive him, in the sense that a radio might not receive a signal.
And then, there is that wonderful last sentence. Those humble or smart enough to receive Christ got something more precious than anything else in existence: the right to become the children of God.