Daily Devotion for January 20, 2021
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.
Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear,
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood.
Now we are not afraid;
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains long
Before we knew we could.
There can be miracles, when you believe;
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will,
You will when you believe.
In this time of fear
When prayers so often prove in vain,
Hope seems like the summer birds,
Too swiftly flown away.
Yet now I'm standing here;
My heart's so full I can't explain.
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say.
They don't always happen when you ask
And it's easy to give in to your fears.
But when you're blinded by your pain,
Can't see your way straight throught the rain,
A small but still resilient voice
Says hope is very near.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
For the Presence of God
O God, be present with me always, dwell within my heart. With thy light and thy Spirit guide my soul, my thoughts, and all my actions, that I may teach thy Word, that thy healing power may be in me and in all the saints of thy church universal.
To Lay My Suffering at Jesus’ Feet
Lord Jesus, you call me to live every aspect of my life in your presence, and so I come before you as I am. With the myrrh that the wise men carried I bring, too, the pain and sorrow and suffering that I have experienced. I lay them before you because they are all part of who I am. I ask that good may come from whatever negative things happen to me, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from your love.
For Purity of Speech
O God, who knows well how often I sin against you with my tongue; Keep me free from all untrue and unkind words; consecrate my speech to your service; and keep me often silent, that my heart may speak to you and may listen for your voice; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me.”
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
First Things First
Revival begins by Christians getting right first and then spills over into the world.
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Galatians 4:18a (Daily Prayer Bible)
18 “To strive is good — when you strive for goodness.”
17 They zealously court you not goodly, but to exclude you they want, that them you seek.
18 And good to be striving for good always, and not only when present me with you,
Notes on the Scripture
Striving (Galatians #48)
One of the reasons many scholars believe that Paul dictated his letters is that, sometimes, the thoughts become jumbled up somewhat, with short tangential remarks that are more typical of unrehearsed speech — rambling, if you will — than the more considered process of writing. We certainly see it here! Paul inserts two off-the-cuff ideas that break the flow of his main argument. Moreover, they are so briefly stated that the meaning is difficult to reach. Still, he clearly thought they were important to say, and anyone who is hungry for his teaching would have to agree.
The shorter digression is a parenthesis on striving. It is just six words in Greek and a bit hard to read: “And good to-be-striving for good (or in goodness) always, . . . ” The root of the verb translated as “strive” here transliterates as zelous, which adds to the meaning a bit, since “to strive” could be defined “to work with zeal,” or “to try to accomplish something zealously.”
King David, from
Macclesfield Psalter (c.1320)
But one must infer a comparison to the preceding sentence, because the Judaizers have surely been “striving” to win the Galatians over with great zeal. For whatever reason, Paul thinks it is important to point out that he is not criticizing ardent effort in general; rather, he approves of it when its aim is goodness. An extremely loose paraphrase might read: “The Judaizers are not striving for goodness, but for their own gain. I do not criticize their striving; striving with zeal is a good thing when the motive is goodness, that is, truthful teaching of the gospel for the benefit of the audience.”
Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.” When I was a youth I thought this was the most obvious — and therefore the stupidest — thing I had ever heard. But over the years, the profundity of it sank in, slowly but surely. It restates Paul as an imperative. The two pitfalls of life, put simply. We do not want to take action if we are wrong; but when we are sure we are right, we must take action.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians to test everything against Scripture; and this is the only way we can ever be absolutely, positively sure we are right. So, today, let us commend ourselves, not in pride, but in love of our glorification of God; for we are at this moment doing our best to accomplish part One of the two-part process: striving zealously to understand the Word of God, and thereby, to be able to know when we are right.