Daily Devotion for May 23, 2015
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.
Selah is a contemporary Christian vocal trio consisting of Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry. They do a terrific job updating this old British hymn.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end...
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Music by Jean Sibelius
Lyrics by Catharina von Schlegel, @ 1740
Prayer for the Morning
The night has passed, the sun shines its light upon us, and the day lies open before me. As I rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence fill me with love for you and my fellow man, holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abide with me, I pray, now and forever.
For a Blessing on the Families of the Land
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary person in the comfort of families; I commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, I beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of boastful vanity, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to the parents; and fill us all with true love and charity, so that we put aside petty differences and act with kind affection and the sympathy of brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[The desire of boastful vanity.]
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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 94:11-12 (NIV)
The Lord knows the thoughts of man;
he knows that they are futile.
Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord,
the man you teach from your law;
John 14:8-17 (NIV)
Trying to Understand God
“Philip said to Jesus, Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
Notes on the Scripture
Do you believe in God? I imagine anyone reading this will answer “yes”, but we know that it can be a difficult thing at times, because it is impossible for the human mind to grasp Him. We are accustomed to relying on our senses and our logic to decide what is true and false, but God cannot be known in that way.
We do know that both logic and our senses are fallible. David Copperfield can convince you that a building has disappeared. We constantly fall for sales pitches of some sort and equally often reject truth. At one time, people could not grasp that the world was round. And just try to understand Einstein's theory of relativity, or quantum mechanics.
We cannot even agree whether the earth is getting warmer because of air pollution or not, which would seem to be well within the grasp of modern science. Scientists, who are smarter than I am, say that global warming is happening and that it is cause by manmade pollution. Other scientists, who are also smarter than I am, say that it is just normal climate fluctuation. Someone is wrong about it, but the point is, even whoever is wrong knows more than I do!
God is a lot harder to understand than quantum mechanics or climate change. The possibility that we can grasp Him intellectually, given the limitations of logic and our senses, is zero.
Here, when Philip asks Christ to show him the Father, he is saying that he will make a decision based on his sense of sight. Certainly, David Copperfield could have obliged Philip and shown him something convincing. But Christ refuses. Christ is standing right in front of him and will not indulge Philip's naiveté with a magic act.
Instead, Christ tells Philip to follow His commandments. If he does so, Christ will send another Advocate to abide with him. That is, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell in Philip, and Philip will know of His existence, even though the Spirit cannot be seen or known by the world. And this is the answer we must either accept or reject. Learn and follow Christ's teachings and you will know of God's existence, because he will dwell within you and you will know Him.