Daily Devotion for February 13, 2024
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 this beautiful soft song, Hillsong gives us a suggestion about the best way to spend our day: “In Your Hands.”
Prayer for the Guidance During the Day
Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,
St. Anselm’s Prayer for Love
O blessed Lord, who has commanded us to love one another, grant us grace that having received your undeserved bounty, we may love everyone in you, and for you. I implore your clemency for all; but especially for the friends whom your love has given to me. Love them, O fountain of love, and make them to love you with all their heart, that they may will, and speak, and do those things only which are pleasing to you.
“I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
~ William Carey (1761-1834), Missionary to India
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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 is “Shrove Tuesday,” the last day before Lent. It starts tomorrow, so let’s make a final decision on what we are going to “give up for Lent”! This partial fast is a wonderful way to show God that we are paying attention to the suffering of Christ and are willing to do penance for our sins.
Whether you do something actually painful, or whether it is entirely symbolic, I would encourage everyone to deprive themselves of something until Easter. (And yes, Sundays actually are free days when we never fast . . . so you get a day off once a week!)
This informal holiday today always occurs 47 days before Easter or Resurrection Sunday, and the date changes every year correspondingly. I am told it cannot be later than March 9 or earlier than February 3.
It is termed “shrove” because on the day before Lent, Catholic (and later on, Anglican) Christians would go to confession and receive absolution, which the English called “shriving” of ones sins. A bell would be rung to call people to confession, and in some places the “Pancake Bell” is still rung today!
Why pancakes, though? Because people fasted more seriously back then, and yummy food was off the menu for Lent. So housewives would use up their fat, eggs, and sugar on Tuesday night supper. So although Shrove Tuesday is not a feast day, i.e. not a holy day, it became a “party” day for practical reasons.
Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)
The Wrath of God
or the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Notes on the Scripture
Here, Paul addresses atheism among the Gentiles. Christ has, for the first time, brought knowledge of God to them; but in learning of God’s grace, God’s wrath has also been revealed to them. Is this fair? How were they to know about God’s existence, since they did not have the benefit of revelations and teachings given to the Jews over the centuries?
Proof of God’s existence was all around them, as it is all around us today. You can’t miss it. If someone doesn’t see it, it is only because they are intentionally ignoring it! It lies in the sun that rises every morning, the fruit that grows on trees to feed us, the very air we breathe.
If we were to find an elaborate spacecraft—like nothing made on earth—sitting in the desert, speculation about who had made it would be rampant. We would examine every angle, to try to figure out what the aliens who had made it were like.
But every human who has lived experiences something vastly more fantastic, every day: the world and all that is in it. God holds them responsible for not inquiring about who had created it, but instead, suppressing the obvious truth: There is an almighty God who made us and everything we see. There is no excuse for atheism; it is intentional.
Thus, even the Gentiles are without an excuse for not acknowledging and thanking God. They (or most of them) ignored the plain fact of the existence of an invisible and almighty God. In the pride of their own imagination, they pretended that things they had made were God, rather than vice versa, and claimed to be wise. And their hearts thereby became “dark,” just as one’s face becomes dark when one turns away from the sun.
It is important, at this point, to spend some time considering what the “wrath of God” really means. God is not human and his wrath is not human anger. He does not get red in the face. He does not have an adrenaline rush and become blindly destructive; he does not hate errant humans. It is wrath based in love.
To understand this apparent contradiction, imagine a parent whose child who is secretly skipping school to take drugs, have sex, and break into houses. The parent would be furious at the child; but it is a fury completely grounded in love. The mother or father would be angry at their child because he was ruining his life, because he was choosing a life full of darkness and misery.
But the analogy is only partial. We may not anthropomorphize God beyond a certain point. For unlike (many) human parents, He will actively destroy His creation if it is evil.