Daily Devotion for February 21, 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.
John 6:41-51 (CEB)
Bread of Life (3)
The Jews grumbled about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
They asked, “Isn’t this Jesus, Joseph’s son, whose mother and father we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus responded, “Don’t grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father.
I assure you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that whoever eats from it will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Notes on the Scripture
The passage today is nearly identical to the passage from yesterday. There is an aspect that bears examination, because this section is often cited by those who espouse the doctrine of predestination. Specifically, phrases such as \'nobody can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father" seem to indicate that it is God, rather than our free will, that determines whether we will be saved by Christ's grace.
Predestination is especially associated with the Swiss reformer John Calvin and the Calvinist Church. Most Presbyterians will find it familiar territory, as the Presbyterian Church originated in the Scottish Calvinism (although in the United States today, there are a wide range of beliefs among Presbyterian scholars and communicants on this subject, and it is no longer emphasized). Lutherans also teach it in a milder form although, again, it has become much less important over time. Basically, the doctrine of predestination holds that since God knows all things, he knows before you are born whether you will be saved or damned; and since He is all powerful, it is He who decides your fate in advance.
It is a logical and seductive argument, and it has formed a huge body of debate, with a host of associated belief systems. If you like, you can spend your life arguing about predestinarianism, process theology, Pelagianism, Augustinianism, superlapsarianism, Arminianism, and a whole host of philosophical and theological terms and ideas.
But what does it matter? Christ himself has promised us that if we believe in Him, we will be saved. The mind of God is unfathomable to man; we must accept that our minds and thought are insufficient to know God as He truly is. God Himself has spoken directly to us, as one human being to another, in terms that even the simplest mind can understand. It is vain and fruitless to speculate, to argue various ideas about the nature of God and salvation, because there are no ideas in heaven; there is only truth.
And God has given us a truth that we can understand and follow. Believe in Christ, and follow Him, and God will take care of the rest. Jesus has promised that He will be there for us and will never abandon us; he will stand as our advocate and justify us before God. The road to salvation is not thought, but belief.
Today in Daily Prayer
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