Daily Devotion for June 2, 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.
An old song from the Gaither Vocal Band.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
Acts 8:18-25 (NKJV)
The Sorcerer's Sin
And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."
Then Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me."
So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
Notes on the Scripture
Simon the witch has been baptized and has received the Holy Spirit, but he finds it difficult to reform his thoughts overnight. Like any good magician, he respects a really good trick, and this one is outstanding. Being the most famous sorcerer in Samaria, he naturally wants to buy it.
Peter chastises him, and he repents. The gifts of God cannot be purchased with money. In fact, since everything good is a gift of God, nothing can actually be "purchased". We cannot buy; we can only rent. The legal terms of a will, or deed of land, "to ________ and his heirs forever", testifies to human vanity. We can only hold something for the duration of our lives, and that is uncertain — anything, including land, can be taken from us or destroyed.
Like the old song Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries put it:
To you are just loaned,
So how can you lose
What you never owned?
Nor can we designate heirs who will own it "forever". The very rich sometimes have their names on monuments. They think it is important that their name live on, as if this has any meaning other than to extend their sinful pride past their death.
The oldest of these testimonies to human vanity, the Great Pyramid of Cheops, is well on its way to crumbling after a mere 4500 years. Since modern human beings have existed for 200,000 years, and the earth for 5 billion years, give or take, the Great Pyramid's existence will just be a speck on the line of time. His name will (probably) be forgotten, and his pyramid a flat plain, long before humanity dies out.
Our lives are significant not because our names or works last for eternity, but because we live under the patronage of God Almighty, who existed before the world and will exist until the end of times. Our acts are significant, because we can "lay up our treasure in heaven", and help others to do the same. Our lives have eternal purpose and we should us our short visit on the earth wisely.