Daily Devotion for April 12, 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.
Alan Jackson's soft country style fits this hymn perfectly.
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
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.
John 14:16-21,25-27 (ESV)
I Will Not Leave You as Orphans
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
* * *
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you."
Notes on the Scripture
Christ loved his disciples and those to come. He was concerned about them. He realized how strong he was and how weak, by comparison, were even his mightiest disciples. He knew our pain, for he was human, and he was concerned about leaving us alone on earth, to carry on his Word, for we would be lonely and afraid, leading lives full of problems.
And so he promised — promised, mind you — that He would come to us. He promised that a Spirit would live with us, a Helper (or Comforter). Basically, a Friend.
The Holy Spirit is treated and experienced in so many different ways in churches and by individuals, but many people shy away from Spirit-based worship, because they associate it with loud noise and wild activities, which isn't to their taste. But there is another side to the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will be with you any time you ask. This is an actual aspect of God, no different from Jesus himself, whose purpose is love and comfort. You can sit and talk to Him. If this makes you feel crazy, like a child with an invisible friend, do not be embarrassed. For if you do not learn to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, you are simply denying yourself one of the great benefits of your belief.
God is in the room with you this very moment, filled with love for you and concerned about your earthly pain and problems, as well as helping you to achieve eternal life. You can treat Him like a friend. Do you remember how God had a meal with Abraham, and then walked with him, conversed with him and even allowed Abraham to argue with him? (Genesis 18)
This is an important aspect of God. We fall down and glorify God the Father, and rightfully fear him; we pray to Christ to intercede for our sins, so that we might have grace. But our relationship with the Holy Spirit is meant to be friendly and informal.
If you have never done this, you should try to feel God's presence, for He is with you; this is a promise Jesus made to us. You can pray to Him, but you can also talk with Him, argue with Him, even have a cup of coffee with Him. And although you are not going to hear a voice talking back to you, you can feel His loving presence if you stop and listen.
This is an important part of Christian practice; our forefathers knew about it, but we seem to ignore this huge benefit of God's grace. If you listen to some old hymns, you will see that they had a deeper appreciation for the presence of God in their everyday life. Listen to In the Garden, for example, and realize that the writer is speaking literally. "He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own" is not a metaphor; it is something that the author actually experienced in his life.
God loves you and His love has no limit. He is not ever going to run short of love for you. Talk to him, feel the Spirit that Jesus left with us, and let God's love wash over you every moment of your life.