Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 4/6/10

Christ is Risen, Peter Paul Rubens, 17th century

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 3:16

What are we willing to do? What are we willing to offer of ourselves? What are we willing to sacrifice for the cause of our fellow man? What are we willing to give, in love, in order to ease the pain and the suffering, the struggles and the hardship of others?

When our Saviour ascended on high to take his place seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, He imparted one message to his disciples, one great command that was meant to be the deeper calling for their lives, one final admonition for how it was that they were supposed to live. It was there that, amidst these words, the believer, those who held themselves to be faithful to the salvation granted unto them through Christ by the grace of the Lord in the works of the Spirit in their souls, were to find a renewed purpose in their lives even as they waited for His glorious and triumphant return.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

It’s here that we, as a people, find ourselves so often struggling. Even if we don’t necessarily recognize it at the time, we battle with this teaching as we seek, as we strive to live by it. We want, more than anything, to observe all that Christ has commanded of us, we want to preach it and teach it throughout the world, proclaiming that Gospel message of His love, yet, more times than not, we find that it is carefully elusive to us amidst our own understanding and our own comprehension. We bog ourselves down with doctrinal and theological debates and discourses, we argue dogma and canonical law and, in that, we keep ourselves carefully separate from one another.

Now let’s make no mistake, denominations, for all we argue, can be a good thing. Based on what a person believes, based on their personal relationship with God, based on their understanding of His truth, it gives unto them a home and fellowship where they can be uplifted and edified in the Word of the Lord. That gives them a place where they are capable of growing in their faith and in the love of God if the Scriptures are taught with a pure heart and a sincere longing for the body of Christ to draw closer to Him.

Yet, amidst that, it should never separate us from one another in the deepest of callings given unto us by Christ. There are, after all, only two commands that He gave unto the believers, two commands that were meant to surpass all other teaching, all other law and doctrine. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Its love... a perfect and holy love... that is the command that each of us must abide in, the command that we are given to carry forth into this world that we might live according to the calling given unto us by the Great Commission. It is love that is to be manifested in our lives in order that we may show forth the mercy and the compassion of our Saviour.

It was here that the Apostle Paul would declare, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), for it was here that was the beginning and the end of all love. This was namely the nature of sacrifice, a sacrifice that was willing to give all in compassion and mercy that a blessed hope would encompass the lives of the people, leading them from brutal captivity to the places where liberty dwells in the promise of the blessed assurances of our Lord. It was the deeper lesson we were all meant to learn as it carried us forward to a calling for our lives as we showed forth our love for one another. After all,” A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

What then are you willing to offer of yourself in love for your fellow man? What are you willing to sacrifice of yourself to live in the Great Commission given unto us by our Saviour? As the wondrous gift of Christ’s salvation encompasses your life and you are guided to the places of hope that he bought for us at such an awful price you should ask yourself, what are you willing to give to show forth his love and the love of God in your life.

Amidst a lost and fallen world there is always so much to do, so much that needs to be done. There is so much struggle, so much turmoil, destitution and hardship number the days of the people. As redeemed children of our Heavenly Father, freed from bondage and captivity ourselves, freed from the bitter slavery to sin, death and the Devil, it should be ours to lead the way, to lead the charge against tyranny and injustice, oppression and persecution, struggle and agony that love and hope will guide the lives of the people, showing that through God’s love they will never be forgotten in the trials and tribulations of this world.

Journeying through a world so prone to sin and iniquity, to transgressions foisted upon the lives of the people, ours must be to give of ourselves, to sacrifice of ourselves, offering all that we can that God can make use of the gifts that He has given us that our fellow man may be uplifted and edified even in the darkest of days that would so encompass their lives. Ours must be to give until we can’t find the strength to give anymore, and then, in the strength that can only be given unto us by God through the power of the Spirit, give just that much more of ourselves to care for the lives of others.

It is then that we know that we have lived in the mercy and the truth, the compassion and the love that God has intended for us as we pour forth His love in the lives of His people, looking to the lessons taught unto us by Christ, being guided by the sacrifices given for us by our Saviour and letting them guide us through all the days of our lives, through all that we are and all that we can offer of ourselves.

It is then that we will have truly and rightly shown ourselves to be his disciples as his mercy and truth forever guides our way through all the days of our lives.

Lord, grant this unto us all...

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

First Prayer:

We shall cry unto You O Lord, our God, to be merciful unto Your people, for it is in You that we place our trust...

We shall call out unto You O Lord, our God, to show unto Your children Your love, for it is You that we shall find the refuge for our hope...

We shall long for You O Lord, our God, to bring justice into the lives of Your creation, for it is under Your wings that we shall take shelter in all of our struggles...

We shall seek Your ways O Lord, our God, that compassion shall encompass the lives of Your people until all calamity shall have passed before our eyes...

As You have in ancient days, leading Your children from captivity and bondage, lift Your hand before Your people and be unto them their Deliverer as the challenges and the struggles of this world so threaten to overtake them amidst trials and tribulations. Look down from heaven and save Your people from those who turn from Your righteousness as their wickedness seeks to devour them.

As You have in the lives of the crew of the MS Taipan, that German ship whose hijacking was thwarted, show in the lives of all who are held by captivity and bondage the same mercy that endures through Your love. Raise Your cause to them that though they are surrounded they shall never be devoured. Exalt them O Lord that they shall be lifted high above their current ordeal and carried to the places where Your hope and Your peace shall encompass their souls in the compassion that You have for them.

Awaken Your glory in this slumbering world that Your name shall be raised on high for the mercy of heaven in the lives of Youe people as the chains are broken and bondage is forever set to flight.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

Do not cast us off O Lord, do not scatter or disperse Your People. Turn not Your eyes from their suffering, nor deafen Your ears to their cries....

Do not cast us off O Lord, do not let captivity and bondage ensnare Your Children. Turn not Your eyes from the chains that would bind them and oppression that would destroy them...

Speak O Lord... In Your Holiness and Your mercy speak unto the nations, show that You are a living God, that You are the God of Deliverance and that from Your hand shall rise a force that shall set evil to flight and destroy the transgressions and iniquity of the wicked.

Hear our cries O Lord and attend to our prayers. Your people suffer, they struggle, all about them they find anguish and agony as oppression and tyranny, as persecution and captivity, as poverty and destitution, cast upon them the bitterest of estates and grim darkness encompasses their lives. Be unto them a shelter, a mighty city that shall offer to them refuge in their hurt and their pain that they shall find hope and peace amidst their lives. Be unto them their sword and their shield that they shall find the strength and the courage to persist even in the tribulation that lies before them

Count them amongst Your Saints O Lord and give them the perseverance they need to endure in the love of Your precepts as they are lead from darkness to Your light that they might find the rest and the comfort that has so eluded them amidst the struggles that they have been forced to face.

Abide with them... abide with us forever O Lord that we shall see Your face and sing praises unto Your name for the mercy that You have given amidst the liberty You have endowed Your creation with.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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