Daily Devotion for April 10, 2014
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
For the bird who sings outside my window,
For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,
Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To remember all of them, and know that you are here.
[The blessings I have that I have not earned.]
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love, and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
Ancient Prayer: Jesus Wash My Feet
Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship.
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
Psalm 103:1-4 (KJV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
Matthew 25:31-34 (ESV)
The Final Judgment
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Notes on the Scripture
Matthew 25:31-46 is a single integrated passage, but is too long to handle in our limited space. Please read it in its entirety, as we have to present it piecemeal on Daily Prayer both for reading and discussion.
Many Christians are largely ignorant of, and even shy away from, the parts of the Bible dealing with the second coming of Christ. It is understandable why people might not want to tackle Revelation; and, indeed, there is little reason to bother with any but the first three chapters of Revelation if one finds it too weird or difficult. Reading it is a lot of work and we do not need it to find Christ or understand his commandments.
But we get a general description of the second coming right here in Matthew, in Christ's own words, and he certainly meant for us to understand them. It clears up misconceptions that might inhibit our life in Christ. Furthermore, there is a long lesson on the requirement of charity intertwined with the description of the Day of Judgment in this passage.
How many people think that Christians believe that they go to heaven when they die? Almost all non-Christians and a great many who attend church, especially in mainline Protestant denominations. And there is a verse that gives some credence to the idea: 2 Cor. 5:8. But it is more complicated than that, for Christ indicated something different: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1–3).
Both Christ and Paul called physical death “falling asleep”, and sleeping is a good way to look at it. (E.g. John 11:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ) Many Protestant denominations believe that, once we go to sleep, we are simply unconscious; Catholic, Orthodox, and several liturgical Protestant churches teach that we go through a process of purification, usually called Purgatory.
And then we have the odd story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31, where Lazarus dwells with Abraham in a heavenly place after he dies, and the rich man is in the torment of Hades. Thus, some Christians (including Augustine and Hippolytus) believe that the righteous await judgment in a pleasant state, often called the “the Bosom of Abraham”, although this is primarily a Jewish doctrine.
We must, then, understand that there is no direct Scriptural statement detailing the intermediate period between death and our eternal home. We may believe as we decide, but we may not argue about it. “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10.)
All agree on the really important issue: There will come a day when we will be reawakenedWhat becomes of those who are alive when the Second Coming begins is an even more contentious and complex subject. to be judged by Christ; we will be found righteous and assigned to eternal life in heaven, receiving a new body and dwelling in a “new earth” where sin and pain do not exist, able to live with God in his full glory.