Daily Devotion for January 9, 2011
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
A Prayer of St. Basil the Great
We bless thee, O God most high and Lord of mercies, who ever workest great and mysterious deeds for us, glorious, wonderful, and numberless; who providest us with sleep as a rest from our infirmities and as a repose for our bodies tired by labor. We thank thee that thou hast not destroyed us in our transgressions, but in thy love toward mankind thou hast raised us up, as we lay in despair, that we may glorify thy Majesty.
We entreat thine infinite goodness, enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise up our minds from the heavy sleep of indolence; open our mouths and fill them with thy praise, that we may unceasingly sing and confess thee, who art God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, the Only-Begotten Son, and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.
Ephesians 1: 5-12
Praise His Glory
God destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us.
For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of Him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
Notes on the Scripture
Being a week into the New Year at this point, most people are trying to get their lives in order for the coming year. Some of us have specific New Year's resolutions, some people just intend to do generally better; but at this time of year, almost everyone has some sense of things they want to accomplish, problems they want to handle, etc.
When we do this, it is well also to reflect on how much we have been given. It is a good time to back away from our lives for a minute and think about what is important. Because if we do, no matter how many problems we have, we can put our problems in the perspective.
Everyone has problems. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to be somebody else for a day? I think most of us would choose somebody younger, richer, thinner, better-looking, smarter, or having other aspects of their life free of what we perceive to be worldly problems or shortcomings that make us suffer. But what would be most interesting would be to see how burdened they are with their own problems.
We might be surprised, stepping into the life of a multimillionaire, how much pain they are feeling from a child with behavior problems or who despises and rejects them, or a parent who is critical of them. Or if we choose to be that slender beautiful teenager for a day, how crushed they are feeling about not getting into the college they wanted, or the confusion and anxiety they feel about their future. If we live life in the shoes of the successful young attorney, perhaps his girlfriend is pregnant, or he is feeling tremendous pressure to work even harder and is getting an ulcer. We do not feel, or often even see, other people's problems.
But one thing we know for sure. As Paul tells us today, we are destined to be God's children by our faith in Jesus Christ. The most important thing possible is okay. It is a problem we do not have. Our sins and our failures have already been erased by the exercise of the greatest power in the universe, the infinite grace that has been "lavished upon us". Does Bill Gates have 50 billion dollars in U.S. currency? You have 50 billion plus one dollars in heavenly currency, and it is not going to disappear no matter what.
Do 20 million people know and admire Oprah Winfrey? The angels don't watch television. Who would you rather have love you, 20 million fickle mortal tv watchers, or God's heavenly host? Would you rather have the maitre d' at a snooty restaurant fawn over you, or have an infinitely powerful God ready to welcome you with endless love?
We have everything we need stored up for our future. Our problems are temporary but the fullness of God's grace is permanent. How lucky we are not to be somebody else!