Daily Devotion for September 21, 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.
Our Virtual Sunday Church takes us to the Cathedral of St. Paul this week. The anthem is Psalm 121, reproduced (in a slightly different translation) to the right.
Sunday Morning Invocation
God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill my spirit, and the spirit of all the people of your universal church, with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned, and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Forgiveness
Almighty and most merciful Father, I have erred and strayed from your ways like a lost sheep. I have followed too much the devices and desires of my own heart. I have offended against your holy laws. I have left undone those things which I ought to have done; and I have done those things which I ought not to have done; and there is no good in me. O Lord, have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner. Spare all those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to your promises declared to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. And Grant that I and all who confess his holy name may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to his glory and not our own,
For Eternal Life
O Merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life; whoever lives and believes in Him, will not die eternally, but have everlasting life. You have taught us, by the holy Apostle Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for those who sleep in him.
I humbly beseech you, O Father, to raise me and all who confess your holy name, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we depart this life, we may rest in Him; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in your sight. I pray that you will give us that blessing, which your well-beloved Son will then pronounce to all who love and fear you, saying, Come, you blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Grant this, I beseech you, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer.
[You have taught us not to be sorry, as men without hope.]
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus 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.
Psalm 121 (NKJV)
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Romans 5:1-5 (J.B. Phillips NT)
Peace and Joy
Since then it is by faith that we are justified, let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things he has for us in the future.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.
Notes on the Scripture
One of the most perplexing issues in Christian thought — possibly the single most perplexing enigma — is why a loving and all-powerful God allows his faithful children to suffer. I am not smart enough to answer it and I suspect that nobody else is, either. The reasoning faculty of the human mind is not the infallible engine we often think it is; we are simply not capable of grasping God as He is. Personally, I simply accept it: if God allowed Christ, who was perfect, to suffer such a terrible death prior to reaching His heavenly reward, who am I to ask for more lenient treatment? God, when He became incarnate, was the only utterly innocent human being born of a woman, and yet He suffered as terribly as it is possible to suffer.
In this passage, after reminding us that we will be saved through our faith in Christ, Paul asks us to rejoice in our sufferings. Our suffering builds character, just as the pain of physical exercise makes us physically stronger, or the task of studying makes us more learned. We must learn to persevere, because the act of perseverance will lead to hope. So although we cannot understand it, at some level, we know how to deal with it. Persevere (in prayer), let God give us comfort in the knowledge that it is temporary, and become stronger.