Daily Devotion for June 23, 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.
Beethoven’s glorious setting of God’s blessing on us, sung here by the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge.
From the traditional (Catholic) Latin Mass.
To Wield the Sword of Faith
Flood me with your Spirit, O God. Drown Satan in a deluge of your mighty power! Shake the foundations of hell. Let the beauty and love of Christ pour through me like a cataract. Let me wield the Sword of Faith. Renew me, empower me, purify me this day to your Great Commission.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
To Be Free of Anxiety
Set free, O Lord, the souls of your servants from all restlessness and anxiety. Give us that peace and power which flow from you alone. Shield us from all perplexity and distress, that upheld by your strength and secured on the rock of your faithfulness, we may abide in you now and evermore.
[How can I remember God’s Word when surrounded by confusion and weakness?]
May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.
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.
The Best Epitaph
A good character is the best tombstone.
Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered.
Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
~ Charles H. Spurgeon
1 Peter 3:8-12 (ESV)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Notes on the Scripture
hink for a moment about what “being called” means. Someone cries out your name as a request that you come to them. Calling is verbal. It is a request from someone you cannot see to do something, hear something, perhaps learn something. As a child, a parent stood at the back door while you were playing to call you home for supper.
A God who we cannot see calls us, as individuals, to come and be saved. We do not hear a voice, because it is a spiritual calling, and we hear it with our spirit. We are informed that the time has come for us to change what we are doing. God calls us to come to him, like a parent calling a child to get off the railroad tracks, because a train is coming.
Why else would we pray, or read the Bible, or go to church? Something we do not hear with our ears calls us. It may be faint. Sometimes we may not be sure we have even heard it, but consider: Are you insane? If you have once prayed, if you have even once wanted to read the Bible, your spirit has heard the voice of Christ. Why else would you do these things?
This is the central theme of Peter’s epistle. Sometimes we limit the idea of “calling” with becoming an ordained minister or full-time missionary. But Peter says no. The more important calling is the call to belief. By our call, and by answering our call, we have become members of a “holy nation” that transcends the temporal world of countries, languages, races, genders, and denominations.
But what, exactly, were we called to? Peter gives us a number of attributes of our calling: the first, “unity of mind”, could fill a book, for brotherhood in Christ is contaminated by pridefulness. Christians have reviled and even killed each other throughout history. And these sins have had an ill effect, for many people mock the very word “Christianity” for this very reason.
God calls us to live in unity. Can we force others to bless us and call us brother and sister? No; if they are called, they will come to that conclusion eventually, but it is not our calling to revile others. It is our calling to bless.