Daily Devotion for August 16, 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.
The profundity of J.J. Heller’s songs often amazes me. This song speaks immediately to a very small group, almost impossible for most of us to understand: people, primarily teenage and young adult women, who cut themselves with razor blades, to relieve emotional pain. But it speaks generally to all of us, in our attempts to solve our own problems of imperfection.
The cut is deep, but never deep enough for me.
It doesn't hurt enough to make me forget.
One moment of relief is never long enough
To keep the voices in my head
From stealing my peace.
Oh, control -
It's time, time to let you go.
Perfection has a price,
But I cannot afford to live that life.
It always ends the same; a fight I never win.
I'm letting go of the illusion;
I'm letting go of the confusion;
I can't carry it another step.
I close my eyes and take a breath;
I'm letting go, letting go.
There were scars before my scars,
Love written on the hands that hung the stars;
Hope living in the blood that was spilled for me.
Music and Lyrics by JJ Heller
To Remember God During the Day
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.
I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above.
Prayer of St. Augustine
Look upon me, O Lord, and let all the darkness of my soul vanish before the beams of thy brightness. Fill me with holy love, and open to me the treasures of thy wisdom. All my desire is known unto thee; therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened me to ask in prayer.
I seek thy face. Turn thy face unto me and show me thy glory. Then shall my longing be satisfied, and my peace shall be perfect.
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
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
What Bible verse tells us that Christ is timeless?
The winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.
~ Richard Sibbes (English preacher)
1 John 3:1-3 (ESV)
The World Does Not Know Us
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Notes on the Scripture
ohn again references the first chapter of his gospel here, in talking about why the world does not “know” those who follow Christ. The Gospel of John says, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:5, and then, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. . . But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:9-10)
Here he makes the reference to the children of God more personal; the people who first read this epistle — or, more accurately, heard it, for most people could not read, and epistles would be read aloud to congregations — these original listeners were named, personally, as the “sons of God” mentioned in the Gospel.
God had finally built a kingdom on earth, through the disciples of Christ, but it is invisible to those who refuse to see it. Imagine the church as a sort of colony, say Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Our King is far away and we do not see him, but (unlike the Kings of England!) He is perfect. Perfect in justice, perfect in His love for us. He sent his son, the prince, to establish the colony, but the people killed the prince. But the prince’s visit gave us knowledge of the King’s true wishes for us.
Unlike Plymouth, however, we are surrounded by people of our own culture. They simply do not comprehend God or Christ and so they cannot comprehend us. They are blind. They live their lives unable to see the truth, obeying their corrupt local rulers and their own instincts out of ignorance that they are, by their own choices, going to die. And they refuse to be cured. They are so attached to their own selfishness that they cannot conceive of what we can share with them.
But we know that our colony will not be isolated forever. Our King will come to pass harsh judgment: Death to those who have forsaken Him, but mercy and a gift wonderful beyond imagination, to all who have lived in belief and hope of His return.