Daily Devotion for September 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.
Our “Saturday Oldie” is a tribute to “Miss Gospel Music,” Doris Akers, shortly before her death in 1995. She sings a version of her most famous hit, Sweet, Sweet Spirit, now #334 in the United Methodist Hymnal.
There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it's the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.
There are blessings you cannot receive
Till you know Him in His fullness and believe;
You're the one to profit when you say,
"I am going to walk with Jesus all the way."
If you say He saved you from your sin,
Now you're weak, you're bound and cannot enter in,
You can make it right if you will yield,
You'll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel.
Music and Lyrics by Doris Akers
Prayer to Have Inner Peace in the Coming Day
Heavenly God, may I have peace within, this day;
May I trust God that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be confident knowing I am a child of God.
Let this presence settle into my bones, and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. This I pray in Christ's name,
(~ St. Therese of Lisieux)
To Honor Christ’s Sacrifice
For we are bought with a price: therefore let me glorify God in my body, and in my spirit, which are God’s.
O cleanse me from my secret fault, and keep your servant from presumptuous sins.
For Those in Financial Difficulty
Lord God, I remember and pray for all those suffering severe financial problems; the unemployed, the homeless, the bankrupt, the hungry, and those in desperate fear of such problems; people who are deep in debt, not to be able to pay bills, who are losing or have lost possessions to foreclosure, or who have to watch their dependents go without things they need. I open my heart to them. I pray that your Holy Spirit will be with them, that they find comfort in utter trust and faith in you, and that their anxieties be alleviated by certainty of your love. And if it is your will, I pray that they can find a way out of their difficulties, into financial stability.
And finally, I pray that I not close my eyes to them; and that I not judge those in pain, however they might have acted; but instead, that I might love them as your have loved me, despite my faults. And if it is your will, that I might do what I can to ease their pain. In the name of Christ, who loved us so perfectly, I pray,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, 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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse tells us that our salvation is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that none of us may boast?
The Morning Place
The gates of morning open,
And there at break of day
I hear my fellow members
Inviting me to pray.
Amid the cares before me
I kneel with quiet heart,
To let His peaceful presence
A Blessing sweet impart.
And through the day that follows
I find God everywhere,
Because I stopped to seek Him
In the morning place of prayer.
1 Corinthians 3:10-17 (ESV)
Laying a Foundation
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul gives us here an unusual paradigm for how to view our life. He analogizes a life to a building. When we are reborn in Christ, we basically tear down that building and start again, for the foundation of our life is no longer the meeting of animal needs, but our faith.
t is nothing new to us to think of “building a life” but it is unique to the Bible; it seems like a very modern concept. What we build with our lives, then, will be examined in the final days. The structure we build will be tested by fire, representing God’s judgment. We can build with straw or wood, which are highly flammable and will be destroyed by fire. So, naturally, if we want the accomplishments of our life to survive the test, we will build using materials that survive flame.
Paul doesn’t mention the obvious, stone; one just has to wonder if he didn’t want to refer so directly to Peter, whom Christ called the foundation stone of his church. And, as you will remember from 1 Peter, Peter referred to the faithful as “living stones” from which Christ would build His church.
But if our works are built from precious metals and stones, they will survive the test. So, then, Paul envisions that our good works will survive our death and somehow remain with us after the final judgment. He by no means moves away from the concept of salvation by faith, for even the person who has built a house of straw will survive.
Paul does not illustrate or amplify his metaphor. One must envision a person who lives a good, simple life, or who struggles with his faith, but does not engage in much charity or active work building the church, as a person who builds his life from combustibles. These are the materials of the world, and they will not survive the day of judgment.
But for those who build in the foundation of their faith, using part or all of their lives in affirmative support of Christian faith and self-sacrifice for love of their fellows, he envisions a greater reward of some sort. Our good deeds, in other words, will survive judgment.
Finally, he coins the concept of our body as a temple. This is meant to be literal. In Jewish tradition, God was actually present in the inner room of the Temple, where the Ark of the Covenant was stored, just as the Holy Spirit is actually present within us. We then, by our rebirth in Christ, become holy ourselves. For we are the structure within which God dwells.