Daily Devotion for November 21, 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.
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.
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
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.)
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Notes on the Scripture
Several Bibles translate this passage, "Do not be conformed to this age", and in that translation lies a key to solving one of our great problems. Corruption of our spirit is like rain on the roof; it will find any crack that exists. It will exploit the tiniest chink in our armor to get to us and fight against the good within us.
Evil operates through people and through societies of people. They will infect us without meaning to hurt us, because they know no better. When it comes to society, they do not even have to persuade us; we have an unconscious herd instinct, a drive to conform, a need to be "cool".
I remember being a teenager. Almost every new school year, a group of kids would be wearing some new article of clothing, and I would immediately feel a terrible need to have the same kind of clothes. And a great many people never outgrow this. In fact, if it runs unchecked, it leads to buying ever more expensive stuff that we don't need. We call them "status symbols"; but really, they are symbolic of our willingness to let others define us.
Wasting money on fads and fashions stems from sinful pride, but it is by no means the worst way in which we conform to this age. If we are not on our guard, our most personal innermost values will be corrupted. The world wants to define your very moral standards. Covetousness and sexual promiscuity of every kind have become outright virtues, preached at us from our television sets and every other medium of expression.
Paul, having defined this problem, then offers us the strategy to prevent it: transformation through the renewal of our mind so that we can discern God's will, so that we have the power of mind to tell good from bad, even when we are hearing the opposite all around us.
The key word is "renewal", because the rain never stops trying to find the cracks in our roof. Our roof is forever under attack from hail and freezing winter, by wind and tree limbs. We cannot build a roof and simply say, well, that's done. We have to patch and replace.
Just so, we cannot be baptized and expect that we will forever after be proof against corruption by the age we live in. It is clever and powerful, and has many weapons to crack our will. We must renew our mind with God's word, by prayer, by reading and listening to sources grounded in the Bible, by thinking about how the lessons we have learned apply to life. We must listen to the quiet voice the Holy Spirit, who will guide us if we don't let it be drowned out.