Daily Devotion for October 27, 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.
All things work for the good,
Though sometimes we can't
See how they could.
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth.
Our Father knows what's best for us;
His ways are not our own.
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just can't see him,
Remember you're never alone.
God is too wise to be mistaken;
God is too good to be unkind;
So when you don't understand,
When don't see his plan,
When you can't trace his hand:
Trust His Heart
He sees the master plan;
He holds the future in his hand;
Don't live as those who have no hope,
While our hope is found in him.
We see the present clearly
But he sees the first and last,
And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me,
To someday be just like him.
He alone is faithful and true;
He alone knows what is best for you.
When you can't trace his hand,
When you don't see his plan,
When you don't understand:
Trust His Heart.
Music and Lyrics by Eddie Caswell and Babbie Mason
George Washington's Monday Morning Prayer
O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul.
Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. In the name of Holy Christ, I pray,
To Be Free of Anxiety
Lord Jesus, I have allowed myself to be filled with depression and negativity over what I see as my failures in life, where I have been disappointed in something I wanted from this world. I find myself hiding, full of anger and self-righteousness and self-pity, and have turned my eyes away from you.
Give me the hope I need and help me never to be afraid to begin again. You told your disciples to be anxious for nothing. I give to you my anxiety, Lord Christ, and lay my troubles upon your mighty back; and I pick up your burden, for you have promised that it is light, and that you are gentle and kind. Let me work for your glory and not my own, that the anxiety that comes from pride and vanity and fear of others might be gone from me, and I may serve you in joy and peace.
[Let me seek out my self-righteousness and eliminate it.]
Blessing of Mark
O Sovereign and almighty Lord, bless all your people, and all your flock. Give your peace, your help, and your love unto us your servants, the sheep of your fold, that we may be united in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one hope of our calling, in your divine and boundless love.
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.
Christ said, “I came to bring a sword,” not, “I came to bring a lollipop.” People turn to the Bible for comfort and there is indeed a great comfort to be had in it. But that comfort is filled with a lot of “ifs” and if you read the comfort without the “ifs”, you are shortchanging yourself.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 (DP)
The Faithfulness of the Church
We always remember you in our prayers, giving thanks to God for every one of you, and especially recalling the steadfastness of your hope in Jesus Christ and the many good works that have flowed out of your faith and love. We think of you as our brothers and sisters, called by God to a Gospel not made of words alone, but a Gospel that came to you by the power and certainty of the Holy Spirit.
DP Literal Translation
2 We give thanks to god always concerning each (or all) of you, remembrance making in the prayers of us, without fail (or unceasingly)
3 remembering of you the work of faith and of the labor of love and the persistence of the hope of the
4 knowing, brothers being loved by God, the selection of you,
5 that (or because) the gospel of us not was created in you in word only but also in power and in spirit holy and in certainty much, just as you know what kind we were among you for you.
Notes on the Scripture
What a wonderful way to start a letter! We can see, right off the bat, why Paul was so successful at bringing people to Christ. The opening verses of 1 Thess. are positive and powerful. Unlike what one sometimes hears today, Paul's assurance that he and the other named authors remember the Thessalonians in their prayers is not polite jargon. It is a realistic and meaningful portrayal of how both the Pauline group and the Thessalonians entered the presence of God every day, trusting that He would hear their words, filled with certainty and hope that, if it were His will, He would respond to them.
There is a point to make from Greek grammar, so bear with us. English has an active and a passive voice, e.g. “I threw the ball” (active), and “The ball was thrown” (passive). In active voice, the subject does something; in the passive voice, something is done to the subject.
Ancient Greek had a third voice, called the middle voice, halfway in-between. “Pontius Pilate washed his hands” is a perfect example of how the middle voice was used in Classical GreekThe dialect in which the Bible was written is called Koine Greek. (Koine means “common”.) It is a less refined language than Classical Greek and the middle voice was greatly corrupted in Koine. But Paul uses the middle voice here with the refined inference that it had had in its classical days, 300 years earlier.; Pilate actively washes, but a part of him is washed.
In our passage today, Paul writes “we remember you” in this middle voice. The prayers to remember the Thessalonians are not only meant for God, but also for the people praying. He is saying that they themselves recall, with warmth and thanks, the great works and faith of the addressees, and implies that he considers these memories to be helpful to himself.
Some translations read “we remember without ceasing”; this comes across even stronger in 5:17, the famous words “pray without ceasing”. This must be taken as hyperbole, to some degree, and certainly as regards Paul's remembering the Thessalonians. Even at the extreme of literalism, a cloistered monk must sleep. But it is better taken to mean “regular, heartfelt, and at some length”.
We immediately run up against an unavoidable issue in Paul, that of predestination. There is a lot of support for the doctrine in Paul and we see it right away, for he describes the church members as “chosen” or “selected”. You don't have to be a Calvinist to be a Biblical Christian, but you can't deny the support it gets in the Bible. It is a topic, however, that demands a lengthy discussion, so we will reserve it for the future.
The good works and steadfastness of the Thessalonians are tied to the manner in which they received the Gospel, that is, the fact that the Holy Spirit came to dwell in them, the power of the Spirit, their ability to endure hardships, are all packaged together. Receiving Christ is a transformative experience, where the reborn Christian loves Christ with his full heart; they have not simply altered their behavior after coming to believe in a religion; they have been entirely changed.