Daily Devotion for December 12, 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.
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for the Power of the Holy Spirit
O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
For Those in Need of Strength
I pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,
[That the Holy Spirit may act in me so that my work is holy.]
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.
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.
I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.
~ Taylor Caldwell
John 1:19-27 (NASB)
The Testimony of John
This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not ” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,' as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
Notes on the Scripture
In this passage, John the Baptist recalls the prophecies of Isaiah, that a child would be born who would bring redemption to Israel and to mankind at all ends of the earth. He announces the coming of Christ to all who will listen, saying that there will be one who comes after him, who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and redeem us from our sins.
He was the last of the prophets of Israel, a tradition that really began with Moses (although there are earlier bits and pieces) and reaches its zenith in very different men, Elijah and Isaiah; the first was a worker of miracles, the second a teller of prophecies. But John recalls both of them, the scruffy Elijah who is a man of action, and the wonderful Isaiah, whose last prophecies have not yet been fulfilled.
One great attribute John had was that he accepted exactly what God had set out for him: no more, no less. He was to live in harsh conditions, primatively, eating insects and wearing skins like a caveman, then giving all the glory to his slightly younger cousin; and he was then jailed and beheaded. He did have a great deal of glory and the wonderful satisfaction of knowing how many people he had helped to find salvation.
As Paul says, we are one body with many parts, and each part has its function, none greater than any other. Let us remember, then, all of those who serve Christ without external glory, without making much money or getting a lot of praise and status. The people (mostly ladies) who quietly organize and clean up and make food for events, the people who stand all day ringing bells to collect money for the Salvation Army, the volunteers in the church library — all the saints of God who serve Him without much recognition.