Daily Devotion for November 28, 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
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 Peace
I thank you, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
I pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. I pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Wisdom and Foolishness
The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
Notes on the Scripture
The Greeks were the first great philosophers; their writings on morality, good, and evil are profound even today. In fact, Plato arrived at the idea that there might be one great god by using his mind. On the other side of the spectrum were the Hebrews, another people to whom questions of morality, good, and evil were the subject of copious writing. The Hebrews, however, did not depend on their minds, but on their fear and respect for commandments given to them by supernatural means.
In today's Scripture, Paul talks about the failing of both approaches. We cannot achieve salvation through our thoughts, no matter how brilliant we are; nor can we achieve it by mysticism, emotionalism, or following the code of conduct given to us by God. The only path to salvation is by accepting a grace that came to us by the death and resurrection of a man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
One of the most startling moments in the Bible is in Acts 17:16-34. During Paul's third missionary journey, he traveled to Athens and was invited to come to the Areopagus (literally, the "Rock of Ares"), an open area marked by a great stone northwest of the city center. By the time of Paul, this had become the informal gathering place of Greek philosophers; without a doubt, the most intellectually elite spot in the Western world.
There, Paul engaged Stoic and Epicurean philosophers in philosophical debate! He even quoted several Greek philosophers while expounding the tenets of Christian belief, and he made several converts. But his tone implied the message of today's Scripture: That God would not be found in reason and talk. And so, at the end of his speech, Paul testified rather than debated. That is, he told the philosophers that they weren't ever going to find God — or truth — by standing around talking, or thinking great thoughts.
A stupid and weak person can find Christ, for salvation is a matter of faith in the spirit. We connect with God in a place deeper than thought; and only by this profound transformation in our souls, a place too profound for words, can we discover salvation.