Daily Devotion for April 8, 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
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
Prayer for Peace
May the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth.
May hunger disappear and terrorists cease their senseless acts.
May people live in freedom, worshiping as they see fit, loving others.
May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved.
May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.
A Prayer of Contrition for Lent
Merciful Father, I am guilty of sin. I confess my sins before you and I am sorry for them. Your promises are just; therefore I trust that you will forgive my sins and cleanse me from every stain of sin. Jesus himself is the propitiation for my sins and the sin of the whole world. I put my hope in his atonement. May my sins be forgiven through His name and in His blood may my soul be made clean.
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.
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Work of the Holy Spirit
I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand.
The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn't speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen.
The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you.
Notes on the Scripture
If you have to ask yourself "did I do the right thing", you probably didn't. If you find yourself making excuses in your own mind, it is probably because you have done something wrong. If you find yourself justifying your conduct, you should remember that you are not justified by your arguments; you are justified by your faith.
The voice you are arguing against is the Holy Spirit. It is just like Christ is standing beside you and giving you guidance, and you are arguing with him. The Spirit takes Jesus' message and tells it to you.
We say things like "boys will be boys", "I have to make a living", "the other guy was completely out of line" — the rationalizations for sinful conduct are many and almost automatic. When we have done something wrong, we find ourselves rehashing the situation in our mind. But who are we arguing with? Who are we trying to convince?
We are arguing with the Holy Spirit within us and, therefore, Christ. We are trying to tell Christ why we are without fault. But Christ knows our faults. We aren't fooling God.
To live in true faith, we must seek forgiveness, not self-righteousness. For example, if you get angry with your brother or sister, who is wrong, does that really make you right? Not usually. Rapists, murderers, and wife-beaters are famous for justifying their actions. It is easy for us to see how ridiculous their justifications are; yet, we do the same thing every day. We yell at another motorist and tell ourselves that he was wrong, and we were therefore right, because he ran a red light. But our justification of our anger leads us into sin.
John 16 repeatedly tells us that the Holy Spirit is given to us, so that we might avoid this mistake. If we listen to him, we will not justify our sins. We will recognize them. We must have faith in God's forgiveness; every time we avoid blaming others for our mistake, or refuse to rationalize our sinful conduct, we express our faith in God's forgiveness, and we are blessed.