Daily Devotion for May 13, 2018
Mother’s Day (U.S.)
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.
This week our “Virtual Sunday Church” shares an anthem with the (excellent!) choir of First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
What ever my lot you have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come,
Let this blessed assurance control;
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul.
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876
Lyrics by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
O blessed Christ, my teacher, my savior, my God: You have commanded me to love others as myself. Yet it is so easy to find the faults in others, for I see their outside and compare it against what is inside me. I have inflated my goodness and importance in my own mind, but have judged others for the smallest shortcoming, and I am filled by foolish pride.
I vow by this prayer that I will strive to follow your Word, to forgive all who have injured me, to turn loose the petty resentments and grudges that poison the world with hatred, and to overlook the faults of others; and I ask to be pardoned wherever I have done injury to my brothers and sisters, who are your beloved children even though they, like me, are sinners. And I vow, when I fall short of your commandment, to seek out and confess my wrongdoing. Forgive me, Holy Christ, and help me to ever amend my life; this I pray, with faith in the grace you have promised to the penitent sinner.
Prayer of Thanks
O Thou whose bounty fills my cup with every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, the bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road, and for the riverside; for all Thy goodness hath bestowed, and all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown, and for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown and for the present cross.
I thank Thee for both wings of love which stirred my worldly nest; and for the stormy clouds which drove me, trembling, to Thy breast.
I bless Thee for the glad increase, and for the waning joy; and for this strange, this settled peace which nothing can destroy.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
Psalm 92:6-8 (KJV)
A brutish man knoweth not;
neither doth a fool understand this.
When the wicked spring as the grass,
and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish;
it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:
But thou, Lord, art most high for evermore.
Acts 16:16-34 (ESV)
The Jailer in Philippi
[Paul and Silas have driven a demon out of a slave girl in Philippi—a Greek town in Macedonia—and she has become a convert. The slave owners] seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.”
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.
When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Notes on the Scripture
ometimes we get into bad habits. We get stuck in a rut. All of the spirit goes out of us and we don't seem to be able to find the power to change. Often we get obsessed with some way of life: a hobby, a way of living, a daily routine.
But the Bible shows us how God can make great changes occur in our lives. Paul and Silas were thrown into a stone prison in Macedonia and their feet locked into stocks. Like a person who has been enslaved by obsession or habit, they were seemingly bound without hope of escape. But they did not despair. They prayed and sang hymns, and suddenly a great earthquake occurred. The very foundations of the prison were rocked, and Paul and Silas were set free. And the very man who was holding them in captivity was converted.
We are capable of great changes in our lives. If you are in a rut you despise, there is a way out. If you are obsessed by work, or by physical fitness, or by watching television, or by a hobby, or by alcohol, or anything else, God will send a metaphorical earthquake into your life to free you from your shackles and knock down the prison walls of your mind.
Prayer and persistence are the keys to change. It will lead you to whatever help you need and give you the courage to change. The earthly prisons in which we may find ourselves cannot withstand the mighty hand of God.
If you need to make a change, but your sin seems like a mountain before you: There is no mountain so high that God cannot surmount it. Call down the power of the mighty God of Hosts into your life! Never doubt the love God has for you, even in your darkest hour; never forget that Christ Himself sweated blood before His ultimate ordeal. Let Him be your guide, for His faith never wavered, even when this wicked world threw its biggest punch at Him.