Daily Devotion for January 31, 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.
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.
Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and maidens; Old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Notes on the Scripture
In John 1:4-5, John wrote: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." Here he echoes the introduction to his Gospel, by fleshing out the concept of Christ as the light of men. When God deemed that his son would become human and walk among us, he "turned on the lights". Those who understand and walk into the light will know life. Those who do not, will die.
The first verse tells us why people turn away from Christ. They (or we) have committed acts of evil and they do not want the light to shine on their hidden guilt. Just as Adam hid from God, after eating the forbidden fruit, we hide from Christ.
This is an inborn human characteristic. We will do almost anything not to see our own faults. Our minds rationalize our behavior. We make excuses. We filter our memory through an inborn warping device, so that we actually remember events not as they occurred, but in a way that makes us look better -- if you ever doubt this, simply listen to the accounts given by two people to a dispute. It is full of phrases like "I did not say that", "That is not what happened," etc. A person who rear-ended my wife in traffic once stormed out of the car, angry at her because she did not step on the gas fast enough when the light turned green! (Not to imply that my wife or I aren't as guilty of rationalizing conduct as anyone else.)
But to hide our guilt is to step into the darkness. God is light; Christ is the light. If our sin does not come into the light, we will die from it. Our guilt and shame is part of our sin. We must confess our sins fearlessly, secure in the knowledge of forgiveness. We may have to pay a penalty on earth, but it is a bargain. For we can walk as God's saints and live after our bodies die, and the only price is loving the good with our whole hearts.