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Daily Devotion for April 5, 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 (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for Unknown Needs
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
A Prayer for Lent
Father, through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of Your Son's death and resurrection, and teach us to reflect it in our lives. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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.
Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away.
For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
John 15:11-19 (NKJV)
Jesus as a Friend
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Notes on the Scripture
Christ drops a bit of a bombshell in this quote, because he changes the relationship between God and man. He no longer calls us his faithful "servants", but rather, "friends". This is no accident of semantics. He does it deliberately. He intends for us to understand that the relationship has changed.
Friends treat each other very differently than a master and a servant. A servant stands in a lower social class than a master; this was even more pronounced in the past than in the democratic world of the 21st century. Christ here elevates his believers to more of a degree of equality with him.
He had said in the past that those who followed him would become the children of God; here he acknowledges that his disciples have done so. And, as children of God, we become worthy of friendship with him.
Of course, there are limits to this equality! Christ has been and will be a face of God. We will still worship him and know that he, and only he, has been perfect among all humanity. He will still come to judge us. We will still seek to obey his commandments (although they are very few and very simple, compared to the laws of Moses).
But he told us to consider him a friend, and if he said to do it, we should do it. If you believe in him, Jesus is your friend. He could not be a better friend, because you could not hope for a better friend than one who willingly died to save you.
Still, our relationship to God was changed in this moment. We need not always prostrate ourselves and look upon God as our master, for he himself has told us to consider him a friend. We can talk to him as well as pray to him. We can go to him at any time and knock on his door. He even tells us that he isn't friends with everybody; he has chosen his friends.