Daily Devotion for February 10, 2024
Christ is dimly seen in the center of this surrealist masterpiece; a man appears to fall into His heart. The Perpignan railway station—the symbolic center of the universe, represented by a railway car—is represented just above. Humble people face Him. Their sacks of grain symbolize human experience. “This train don’t carry no gamblers.”
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.
In our “Saturday Oldie,” Ethel Waters gives us some powerful testimony, and reprises her hit song His Eye is on the Sparrow, two years before her death. The best I can tell, this is from a 1975 Billy Graham Crusade in New Mexico.
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my comfort (portion) -
Oh, my constant friend is He -
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.
Prayer of St. Edmund
O Lord, into your hands and into the hands of your holy angels, this day I entrust my soul, my relatives, my benefactors, my friends and enemies, and all who confess your holy name.
O Lord, by the merits and prayers of your son, Jesus Christ, keep me today from all evil and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, from a sudden and unprovided death, and from the pains of hell. Enlighten my heart with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Grant that I may ever be obedient to your commandments. Let me never be separated from you, O God, who lives and reigns forever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For the Humility that Comes from True Wisdom
Mighty God, who has promised that you will grant us wisdom if we but ask; I am beset by pride, by ego, by my unremitting vigilance of my image. When others slight me or give me less deference that I think is my right, I become upset. I find insult even in unintentional remarks. I am easily bruised, and at other times, I feel embarrassed or humiliated at the most trifling discourtesy or even when someone does not pay attention to me. I walk through the world as if I am its center and all should take notice of me; and when it does not, I am hurt and angry.
Heal me, my God. I ask for the wisdom of true humility, through the monumental power of your Holy Spirit. Bring me to a place where my ego is utterly secure in my knowledge and love of you, when I truly am satisfied that all glory is yours, and I may lead my life on earth in security and humble service. Through Christ I pray,
Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build up myself, and all Christians, in faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity.
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 teaching: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”?
For the person who prays in his heart, the whole world is a church.
~ Sylvain of Athos
Romans 1:13-17 (ESV)
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Notes on the Scripture
wo notes on the language: First, the word “brothers” was used in Greek to mean “brothers and sisters”; so there is no innuendo that the letter is addressed to men. Second, the term “barbarians” means Gentiles who had not adopted Greek culture, who would have been a minority in Rome—many would have been slaves brought home from foreign wars.
The first paragraph is straightforward. Paul wants to visit Rome and help convert the lost. He has been given a special mission to non-Jews and so he is eager to visit Rome in person.
The second two paragraphs are a little harder to understand fully. Paul is “not ashamed” to preach the Gospel, because the Gospel is our salvation. I am not convinced that “ashamed” is the best translation for the Greek word (epaischunomai) used here. Paul’s meaning seems to be more that he is not hesitant or reluctant to preach the Gospel to anyone, any time, anywhere. No matter what obstacles are set before him, he will preach it, because it reveals how we can become righteous in God’s eyes -- but only if we have faith in God. It can only be revealed successfully “from faith to faith” — by a person who has faith, to another person who has faith in God.
This is because faith in God, and living as if we have faith in God, is a hallmark of the righteous. We cannot be righteous in God’s eyes unless we live like we have faith in Him.
Most of us are ashamed or hesitant, to one degree or another, to proclaim the gospel. Our embarrassment in telling the truth is a temptation to sin. Society leads us into this temptation. Although we are not beaten, jailed, or executed for speaking the truth, much of society will belittle us for speaking about Christ.
Yet, how can we not speak a truth that is salvation? Would we not show other people where the life jackets were stored if our ship had hit an iceberg? Do we hesitate to tell others when we hear about a study, that eating a certain food will prolong our lives? Paul is eager to preach the Gospel, because it is the power of God; knowing it is the difference between being lost to sin and becoming reconciled to God for the rest of our lives, both on earth and in the afterlife. It is the key to the Kingdom of God.
This figure in hell (Minos, one of the three judges of the underworld in Greek mythology), from the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, has a humorous story behind it. Baigio da Cesena, a papal master of ceremonies, criticized Michelangelo's work saying that nude figures had no place in such a sacred place, and that the paintings would be more at home in a public tavern. Michelangelo therefore used Cesena as his model for one of the figures in hell. When Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff explained that he had no jurisdiction over hell and that the portrait would have to remain!