Daily Devotion for February 6, 2013
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.
The great Shirley Verrett, late in her career. (From a Broadway revival of Carousel.)
Celtic Prayer for the Morning
I will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven; without malice, without jealousy, without envy, without fear; without terror of any one under the sun, but the Holy Son of God to shield me.
God, kindle thou in my heart within a flame of love to my neighbour, to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all; To the brave, to the coward, to the man in the street, O Son of the lovliest Mary, from the lowliest thing that lives to the Name that is highest of all. In the name of Christ, I pray.
For Those in the Armed Forces
Almighty God, I commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
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.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
We Have Heard for Ourselves
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word.
They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."
After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own land.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
Notes on the Scripture
These verses occur when Jesus is returning to Galilee from Judea, passing through the largely heathen land of Samaria. He has had a remarkable encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well, and although she tried to lie to Him, He saw through her lies and called her to account for her promiscuity. (John 4:1-38)
It is hard to decide which is more remarkable: that the Jewish Messiah spends time and energy in the heathen land of Samaria, or that large numbers of Samaritans are so readily convinced to believe in Him. The Samaritans were despised by the Hebrews. A devout Hebrew man would not — could not — sit down at a table and eat with an unclean person. And the Samaritans were worse than simply heathens; they were heathens who were occupying Canaan, the birthright land of the Hebrews which was given to them by God. The very well involved here was the one where Jacob had drawn water, now in the midst of Samaria.
Jesus and the rich young man
Yet, Christ stays there for days, living among its people and showing them the true light of God; and they accepted Him as their savior.
This might not seem so hard to believe in modern times. On any given Sunday, there are more Nigerians actually attending services in Anglican churches than there are in England. If you were on a mission, who would you rather try to convert: An atheist in the "Christian" city of New York or London, or atheist in a heathen tribe in Africa?
People who live in advanced civilizations or have spent their lives in a higher educational system are apparently more resistant to the Word of God than simpler people who live closer to the land. Atheists will claim this is because the latter are ignorant and easily fooled, but I don't think so. I think that some people begin to think they have all the answers. They are glutted with the pride of their knowledge. As Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".
If a person's spirit is filled with pride, there is no room for the spirit of God. This applies as much to you and me as it does to any clever atheist. If we do not seek the Kingdom of God first, if we let our pride in our knowledge fill up our mind, the Holy Spirit will not find much room in which to live. Not knowledge, but pride in knowledge. Christ never said we must be stupid, or ignorant of worldly wisdom. In fact, he told his disciples to be "as wise as serpents".