Evening Devotion for September 20, 2020
The Catholic artist, in the heart of the Renaissance, depicts God wearing a pope’s crown.
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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week is a concert hall, with a beautiful rendition of Holy God We Praise Thy Name from the Irish Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Sing along!
(The words vary slightly among denominations.)
Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.
Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.
Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.
Original lyrics by Ignaz Franz (1771)
English lyrics translated by Clarence A. Walworth (1858)
Tune: Großer Gott, wir loben dich (traditional German)
For Sunday Morning
Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.
Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
Isaiah 40:8 (ESV)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Hebrews 13:8-9 (ESV)
The Constant in a Changing World
esus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.
Notes on the Scripture
When you are young, what is fresh and new seems like such a great thing. But then slowly, as you get along in life, you notice that things just change. They don’t always change because they are better, or involve a new technology - they just change. When I was a young teenager, all the girls wore shoes that are now called “ballet flats”. They went out of fashion in the 1960s. Then, around 2010 -- almost 50 years later -- the exact same shoes suddenly became popular again!
The Soviet Union is now once again Russia and no longer our arch-enemy. A railroad bridge in New York City has been turned into a park. Physics professors who once assured us that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line — it is science, it is factual! — have now changed their mind.
But Christ does not change. He is the single absolute factor in the human universe. (And yes, He beats out death and taxes!)
He never changes His character. He is entirely good. Voltaire said, “In a hundred years, the name of Christ will be forever forgotten.” But the building in which he wrote those words is now a Bible warehouse. And if you ask someone in the street who Voltaire was, and who Jesus was, which one are they more likely to have heard of? His critics die and slip into the shadows, but His name lives on without diminishing, the perfect example of goodness.
His love never changes. He laid down His life for us, the greatest love any man can have (John 15:13), and he lays his life down again and again, every day, in the hearts and minds and souls of millions of people. It is not a love for a person, but a universal love for all of humanity, the very same people who mocked Him and spat upon Him, who slapped His face and beat Him bloody. And yet, He died “not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
His power never changes. He is the Son of God, immortal and all-powerful, who alone has the ability to save our souls from death. His power to redeem us, to justify us before God and bring us into eternal life, will be exactly the same in 2050 as it was in 1050. Men kneel before a cross representing His sacrifice to save us, in tears and humility, and will continue to do so until the end of the world.
His faithfulness never changes. There is nothing that can separate us from Him; He has not changed His mind and He is not going to. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
And finally, His purpose never changes. He came to earth, humbling himself to be born of a human woman, for one reason only: to overcome death. He came to live as a man, to teach us, to suffer and die, and ultimately to defeat the death we inflicted upon Him, in order that He might show us the path to God and live forever.
This was His purpose when the world was created (John 1:1), when He lived, and after He died, for we received His spirit that will be with us until the Final Day. Mountains may tumble, Gibraltar may crumble, governments and science change: but Christ’s total commitment to our salvation is an absolute rock that we can count on. No matter what might happen, to us or the world around us, there is one thing we can absolutely count on: Jesus Christ the Righteous, our Savior.