Daily Devotion for October 7, 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.
Alan Jackson does a great version of How Great Thou Art with an old-fashioned, “country” feel.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
Prayer for the Work of This Day
Almighty God, thank you for the work my hand may find this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer you my work, as well as I may accomplish it, in your praise.
Thanks for the Gifts of This Life
O God, I thank You for this day of lifefor eyes to see the sky
for ears to hear the birds
for feet to walk amidst the trees
for hands to pick the flowers from the earth
for a sense of smell to breathe in the sweet
perfumes of nature
for a mind to think about and appreciate
the magic of everyday miracles
for a spirit to swell in joy at Your mighty presence
[Do I feel as if I have been born again of the Spirit?]
Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,
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.
John 3:1-8, 16-21 (ESV)
Being Born Again
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus one night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered, “Truly, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?”
To which Jesus answered, “Truly, I tell you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said ‘You must be born again.’
The wind blows where it wishes. You hear it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going; so it is with a person who is born of the Spirit.”
Notes on the Scripture
The concept of being “born again”, as a tenet of Christian faith, is a touchy subject. The media has trained much of the population to equate it with a very specific faction of Christianity, zealous and outspoken, that not everyone finds appealing. Although it attracts some people, it repels others and actually discourages them from identifying themselves as Christians in public. Remember, however you may feel about it, that “God has many mansions.”
hen you look at this metaphor at its source — the passage written above — you realize how much it informs the basic theology of all Christians. When we are baptized, the basic act of becoming Christian, we make a beginning. Our life is changed. We take a second step in becoming fully alive (although in a different way than when we are physically born). God’s Holy Spirit comes to us and becomes available to us. It is the one aspect of God who is in direct contact with us during our physical lives, who lives with us in our everyday world, something theologians call the “immanence” of God. Like the wind, we can’t see it and don’t know exactly where it comes from, but if we pay attention we can see its effects in our lives.
However we may feel about the term “born again Christian,” so often used as a pejorative in the secular and anti-Christian segments of society, we must incorporate the underlying meaning of Christ’s metaphor. Our baptism, with water symbolizing the Holy Spirit, creates a new life within us, a life that is lived in the invisible world of Christ and is ultimately more important then the life we live in the world of flesh.