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Daily Devotion for September 10, 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.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.
The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
But the house of the righteous will stand.
Mark 10:13-16 (ESV)
Let the Children Come to Me
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Notes on the Scripture
There are two stories here. In one, Jesus allows the little children to come to him and be blessed. His message and his mission were to the weak and needy, and children form a special category of weakness and neediness. God's love is equal and full to all, no matter how young or old. It is a bottomless well brought to earth so that everyone could have as much as he or she needs.
But Jesus uses the incident to make a point. Adults are full of experience of the world, full of knowledge and skepticism. There is much in Christian doctrine that is contrary both to our instincts, such as our desire for money or fame, and to all the lessons we have learned in meeting those instincts. Forgiveness of those who hurt us, for example, is sometimes a losing strategy in earthly terms (although surprisingly often, forgiveness can reap unexpected rewards even during this life).
Throughout history, there have been misguided Christian leaders who hate and fear science; but nothing in the Bible, including this passage, tells us to be stupid. God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply, and He gave us brains and science to help us. Equally misguided and fearful scientists are unable to see the limitations of their knowledge. Some think that, by discovering a fact about the universe, they can disprove the very existence of God! But nothing in science truly contradicts anything in the Bible.
But such arguments are, in the end, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". They are meaningless in our relationship with God. Christ tells us to set these matters aside when we come to Him. We must forget that we are Republicans or Democrats, Americans or Koreans or Indians, upper-class or poor, astrophysicists or subsistence farmers. We are born as brothers and sisters in slavery; to be saved, we must be born again, as brothers and sisters in freedom.
In Christ, much of what we have learned from experience becomes false. We must set aside our preconceptions, our very self-image, and revert to the empty slate of a child's mind. Only then can the Holy Spirit lead to freedom. The resentments and pride we have acquired from our particular situation will melt away, and we can find it easy to accept Christ's true blessing of eternal peace and joy.