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Daily Devotion for November 9, 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
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory for ever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son. May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
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.
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.)
Whatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately upon them.
Romans 9:27-29 (ESV)
Accepting the World as It Is
And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay." [Isaiah 10:22]
And as Isaiah predicted,
Notes on the Scripture
What are we to think when we look at Western society and the direction it is headed? It seems sometimes like God is losing the battle.
Church attendance is down; in many places, beautiful old church buildings have become little more than local recreation centers and wedding chapels. Governments sometimes seem to be actively promoting atheism, especially in schools. Celebrities and the media seem to espouse ever-increasing degrees of sexual promiscuity in the name of personal freedom.
Forty years ago, a shocking and controversial report showed that one out of four -- 25% -- of black children in the US were born out of wedlock. Today, that figure is 70%. A black child born in the US today has less than a 1 in 3 chance that his mother and father are married.
And Christian churches themselves are hardly perfect. Several weeks ago a Catholic bishop was indicted for conspiracy to commit child molestation; every week seems to bring another pastor or minister who has robbed the church bank account.
As with so many problems, the solution to the pain, frustration, and helplessness we may feel about these issues is right in the Bible. Even before Christ, Isaiah prophecied that only a "remnant" of Israel — God's chosen nation — would be saved. Nothing in the Bible promises that we will live in a world that is good or just.
We must do our best, and we must be at peace with the result, for God is in charge, not us. Nowhere are we promised that every person, or a majority of people, or even a large number of people, are going to know God's grace. Total victory will not be ours until Christ comes again, and only God knows when that will occur.
The practical conclusion of today's Scripture is summarized wonderfully in "The Serenity Prayer":
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.
* * *
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; . . .