Daily Devotion for July 21, 2021
Although this is a painting, the mottled white is actually inlaid mother-of-pearl.
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.
Several professional-level musicians recorded and posted this anonymously, giving testimony to the words: “Take my voice, and let me sing, Always, only, for my King.”
Frances R. Havergal
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold:
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Ev'ry pow'r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
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.
Prayer to Be Filled with Christ’s Love (from Ephesians 3)
Heavenly Father, when I think of the wonder of your great plan for our salvation, I fall on my knees before you, who has named every name in heaven or on earth, and I pray that out of your richness of your glory, you will strengthen me in my inner being with your Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I may be rooted and grounded in love, that I may have strength to comprehend with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ Jesus, the love that surpasses knowledge, and be filled with the fullness that only you can give. In the name of Christ, I pray,
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my 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
In what verse do we find this comforting truth: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”?
Have You Changed?
For our vanity is such that we hold our own characters immutable, and we are slow to acknowledge that they have changed, even for the better.
~ E. M. Forster
Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
The Vanity of Philosophy
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Colossians 2:8 (J. B. Phillips NT)
Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men’s ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!
Notes on the Scripture
ne of the greatest puzzles of life is how strongly a person will believe that some philosophy or way of life is absolutely and universally correct, simply because it makes sense to him or her. People kill each other by the millions, absolutely convinced about the universal truth of communism, or the right of their race or tribe to dominate, or one of a hundred philosophical or political systems. Our minds and intelligence are so limited, and our viewpoints are so narrow, and yet we are convinced of the infallibility of our ideas. And often, we are amazed and infuriated when others disagree.
In this short passage, Paul warns us about becoming captive to ideas. We must, of course, live in the world. Nothing in the Bible forbids us from voting, or believing that democracy or socialism or something else is a better form of government, or that slow drivers should stay to the right or that people should keep their front lawn mowed.
Should we spank our children? Should people eat meat? Put people in jail for smoking pot? Spend an extra $3,000 for leather seats in our new car? We have to answer a lot of questions for ourselves; the Bible does not tell us every detail about how to live our lives. Most people probably would say that they have a philosophy about various aspects of life; but this is not what Paul is talking about when he speaks of a “hollow and deceptive philosophy.” What Paul means is that we must always subordinate ideas to faith, and thus to God’s Word when He has given us a command.
The Apostle Paul
Watch out for the term “theology,” because it means two different things. People sometimes use it to mean a systematic study of what the Bible tells us. For example, one might say “the theology of Paul.” But Paul calls his theology his “gospel,” and that is how we take it. Paul’s epistles are divinely inspired and no different, in effect, from the ten commandments or the teachings of Jesus. The Bible indicates this at least 20 or 30 times, e.g. Romans 16:25, 2 Timothy 2:8, Ephesians 3:7.
But theology can also mean something slightly different in approach, but utterly different in meaning and impact. Most theologians (and most churches) will draw inferences from the Bible, combining something written in the Bible with their own thoughts, and treat it as if the Bible said it. To present such a “theology” is to create a philosophy, “hollow and deceptive.”
The most common use of the word “theology” is just this, some Christian principle tainted by the human mind. Theology is not “inspired by the breath of God.” Like any other type of philosophy, theological arguments can become bitter, divisive, and even cause of wars.
We take the Bible as divine truth. And theology or other commentary may be tremendously helpful, even critical and necessary, for our spiritual growth. But we must always remember that what people say about the Bible is not the Word of God, but ideas created in a human mind based upon it.
And even in our own minds, we must not become captive to our thoughts and opinions, to the point that we ignore some basic commandment that comes from God. For example, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a rule that most Christians would agree is a universal, God-given commandment. Yet, how often will we ignore such an actual truth, and hate someone or wish them dead because they hold some 'hollow and deceptive philosophy' that disagrees with our own hollow and deceptive philosophy?
So this is what Paul tells us in Colossians 2:8. Do not take the first step in the process in twisting Biblical truth into philosophy, the start of a process which ends in ignoring such simple clear commandments as “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Scripture is the ultimate yardstick against which any idea must be measured. We must learn to examine our thoughts, actions, and personal philosophies against it with blunt honesty; for it is always a temptation to bend what we read in the Bible to our pre-existing conclusions and biases, rather than changing our ideas to match the Scripture.