Daily Devotion for February 6, 2017
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.
Robin Mark sings this lovely old Welsh hymn.
1 Here is love, vast as the ocean,
loving kindness as the flood,
when the Prince of life, our ransom,
shed for us his precious blood.
Who his love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing his praise?
He can never be forgotten
throughout heaven's eternal days.
2 On the mount of crucifixion
fountains opened deep and wide;
through the floodgates of God’s mercy
flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
poured incessant from above,
and heaven’s peace and perfect justice
kissed a guilty world in love.
Words by William Rees (1803-1888)
Tune by Robert Lowry, 1876
For Perseverance Today
If things get tough today, Lord — and in all hard times — let me stay motivated and calm. Let me look at how far I have come rather than how far I still have to go. Let me continue counting my blessings, not what I've been missing. May every day bring new chances to grow, new beautiful things to see, new plans to do, and new goals to pursue, as every new day is Your miracle day.
Prayer for Fellowship
Oh Holy God, who has taught us that we should not be yoked with unbelievers, and that righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness; I pray that you will send into my life people who confess the name of Jesus Christ, people who love you and follow you and seek to grow in your Spirit every day. Let me be honorable and worthy before the profane world, dear Father, but also let me find more friends of sincere convictions, that I may follow your command to be in fellowship with other saints, and thus be reinforced in the holiness and purity of Christ to which I aspire.
And let me live in harmony and unity with other Christians. Let me know them and spend time with them, that we might share the blessing of your love. Grant that I might never feel lonely in my faith; and help me to let others feel the comfort of Christian community. In Christ's name, I pray,
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
I recently got a message from an irate reader, stating that “there are many different paths to God.” Name a verse in the New Testament that would prove this notion false.
Isaiah 43:2-3 (NKJV)
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God . . . .
Galatians 6:7-9 (Daily Prayer Bible)
The Front of Our Mind (Galatians #91)
Whoever sows by the flesh will reap corruption. But whoever sows by the Spirit will harvest eternal life.
So we should never lose our enthusiasm for doing good or put God to the back of our minds, because if we keep at it, we will reap our reward in good time.
9 So the good we-are-doing we must not lose-enthusiasm-for, for in time own we will harvest if not giving-out.
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
We harvest the bounty of Christ throughout our lives, in some senses; but today, we are going to concentrate on the great “final harvest,” the return of Christ to claim His Kingdom and the final return of all souls to dwell with God in eternity.
he last words of today’s Scripture, “in good time,” is not quite accurate. If you look at the Verbatim Bible, the literal expression is “own time.” The Greek word for “own” is idios, which is recognizable as a root of such English words as “idiosyncrasy.” It indicates something that is individual or peculiar to a specific person or thing, and here, it means that the time we will reap the harvest is the time of the harvest itself. The timing is out of our control. We will reap our reward when the harvest comes.
When will that be? We don’t know. In fact, Jesus Christ Himself might not know!
This last information is absolutely startling, but it is absolutely correct. It comes directly from the gospels, even the shortest of them: “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) Christ did not know this while alive, and whether or not He knows now is entirely speculative, for He remains subordinate to the Father during the “church age.” (E.g. 1 Cor. 15:38)
It is a happy chance that we cite Mark 13 here, because we see that Paul’s admonition not to lose enthusiasm parallels nicely with Christ’s admonition about the last days. “Therefore stay awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.” Jesus was more metaphorical about this point, where Paul is simply direct, but they are getting at the same substance.
In practical terms, how easy is it for us to put God at the back of our minds? The temptation assails us every minute of every day. During the deepest moment of prayer in church, our minds try to stray. The world crowds in upon us: at work, watching television, being romantic, going to the doctor . . . we could fill a book with the list of “things that take my mind off of God”! This very problem is one of the roots of monasticism.
If we want to work on our spiritual broadening, this is a good place to spend some time and energy — that is, trying to keep God at the forefront of our minds when the world becomes demanding. One strategy that many find successful is to use the natural punctuation points of our day. Saying grace at meals is a perfect example. Before we go to bed. When we wake up, before we get out of bed.
So, here is our assignment to put today’s Scripture into action: Find a point during the day where we naturally change activities and resolve to say a short prayer, putting God into the forefront of our thought, before or after. Before is especially easy to remember. Before I hit my first drive when I play golf. Before I first turn on the television or first pick up a novel to read. When I first turn on my computer/iPad/cellphone. Every time I turn off my car in the driveway or garage.
Hopefully, if we practice enough, we will remember God whenever we begin to get angry, or buy something. It is a lifelong quest to find God, at all times and in all places. Remember Christ’s commandment: Stay awake!