Daily Devotion for February 19, 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
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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 forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed;
none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.
John 6:22-29 (CEV)
What Exactly Does God Want Us to Do?
The people who had stayed on the east side of the lake knew that only one boat had been there. They also knew that Jesus had not left in it with his disciples. But the next day some boats from Tiberias sailed near the place where the crowd had eaten the bread for which the Lord had given thanks. They saw that Jesus and his disciples had left. Then they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus. They found him on the west side of the lake and asked, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you for certain that you are not looking for me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate all the food you wanted. Don't work for food that spoils. Work for food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because God the Father has given him the right to do so."
"What exactly does God want us to do?" the people asked.
Jesus answered, "God wants you to have faith in the one he sent."
Notes on the Scripture
The little anecdote in the first part of the lesson shows that human nature hasn't changed in 2000 years. Jesus snuck away after feeding the 5,000, because He wanted to prevent the crowd from proclaiming Him a secular king. He then joined the apostles in their boat, walking over the water to reach them. Now, a curious crowd gets in boats and starts sailing around the Sea of Galilee looking for Him!
The very nice thing about this bit of Scripture is how simple it is. Theologians, numbering in the tens of thousands, have spent their lives trying to tear apart every word, examine every angle, consider every aspect of the Bible, from historical, archaeological, theological, philosophical, and every other possible perspective. They get Ph. D.'s and teach courses. Like the people getting into boats to chase Jesus around the Sea of Galilee, people have never stopped trying to get more of Christ.
But for all the arcane and complex knowledge and theory people have written about, for all the fights and wars between sects of Christianity, the religion can be boiled down to a simple sentence: "God wants you to have faith in the one he sent".
It isn't rocket science. It isn't in the least bit complicated. Have faith in Christ. That is what God wants you to do. If you get that right, everything else will follow.