Daily Devotion for January 16, 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 of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all who I may meet.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 121:1-4 (English Standard Version)
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
2 Peter 1:13-21
Interpretation of Scripture
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Notes on the Scripture
Interpretation of the Bible is sometimes excruciatingly difficult. First, times do change and some customs must affect the meaning of Scripture. Even the most ardent fundamentalist does not consider it obligatory to wear sandals and few if any go from door to door, asking that the inhabitants give them a room for the night.
Secondly, we do not always know the exact meanings of the original words; most of Christ's words have been translated several times, and even the ancient Greek or Hebrew translation is sometimes a bit obscure.
But most important, humans are fallible. We cannot see the unvarnished truth. It is not a capablility God has given to us. Everything we think, everything we know, is colored by our own emotions and personality and culture.
So what do we make of Peter's instruction that "no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation"? Well, we must try. We must read the Bible and try to set aside our own preconceptions of right and wrong. Almost everyone seeks to read the Bible to find support for their beliefs, at least to some degree; it is human nature. But it is the worst kind of sinful pride to do it. The Bible must be read with an absolutely open mind, the mind of one who seeks truth rather than the mind of one who thinks he knows the truth and seeks an authority so that he can convince others of his correctness.