Daily Devotion for January 17, 2012
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
How Important is Christianity?
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
~ C. S. Lewis
Psalm 23 (KJV)
Faith and AnxietyThe Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Notes on the Scripture
We often speak or hear of Jesus as our shepherd, but consider what it means. Sheep are stupid and nearly defenseless. They wander off into dangerous places; they do not know where the best pasture or water is; and they are sitting ducks for predators. They live and prosper only because they follow a shepherd, who knows where to go at a particular time for the best grass and water; who steers them away from danger; who finds them when they get lost, rescues them when they get themselves into trouble, and protects them when they are hurt or attacked by wolves.
People are hardheaded and proud. We don't like to follow anyone without question. We certainly do not like to think of ourselves as stupid. And in earthly terms, we are right; life teaches us not to be sheep, but to be wolves, or lions, or eagles. But our pride is the ultimate trap, for it will lead to death.
For in terms of our spiritual lives, we are born fools. The path to true life is counter-intuitive. To find real eternal life, we much come to Christ as little children, innocent and eager to learn, "poor in spirit". Neither our instincts nor our intellects will save our souls from destruction; our instincts will lead us astray, into danger and death. For we are as powerless before evil as a sheep before a wolf.
Our instincts are neither evil nor good, but without Christ's help, they will lead us to death. By our nature, we are easily led by our instincts into all manner of sin. We are forever tempted to steal, murder, rape, and aggrandize ourselves. Adam and Eve are our nature; every one of us would eat the apple.
But we know how to live: Trust Christ, trust the word of God in the Bible, and trust the voice of the Holy Spirit, which we find in prayer. The greater our faith becomes, the less fear and anxiety we experience; and with true faith in our eternal life, even the shadow of death cannot frighten us, for we know a loving and powerful God is with us.