Daily Devotion for July 6, 2012
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
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done. All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
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.
The Correct Order
Remember these words when I am dead. First be sure you're right, then go ahead.
~ David (Davy) Crockett
Proverbs 15:28 (NKJV)
but the wicked mouth blurts out evil.
Notes on the Scripture
When I was very young, the quotation by Davy Crockett seemed to me to be the stupidest thing a person could say. It seemed to say practically nothing. Until a person has felt the hard hand of experience, he cannot see the meaning of it, must less the importance.
But the older I got, the more sense it came to make, until it eventually became profound. (Which reminds me of the quip, "It is remarkable how one's parents grow smarter as they get older.")
The quote says two things, the first of which parallels the quotation from Proverbs. If you want to maximize the damage you do in your life, learn to say whatever you think. If we do this enough, we can begin to recite rationalizations we have memorized to make it appear to be a virtue: "I say what I think" or "if I seem blunt, it's because I'm honest." Here's a good rule of thumb: if you ever start a sentence with the words "don't take this the wrong way", stop talking. Whatever it is you are about to say is going to hurt the feelings of the person you're about to say it to.
But this is about more than people's feelings or saying something stupid. The Bible tells us that reflection before answering is an act that comes from a righteous heart; spewing out your thoughts, unfettered, is the habit of the wicked. Proverbs is an instructional book, a book of wisdom, and this is something that we must learn, for it does not come naturally. But we have a duty, as Christians, to learn it and practice it.
We find it commonly in situations where we think somebody has insulted us, or has said or done something stupid or harmful. We get angry and prideful, and (like all emotions) anger and pride can quickly become sinful.
We hear this throughout life: Think before you speak (or act). Count to ten. Hold your tongue. But just because we can repeat the phrases does not mean we have learned them. Holding our tongue is not something that we learn once and then live, because like our fight against all forms of sinfulness, it is something that needs to be relearned and rehearsed every day, for the temptation will spring anew in full power.
We should remember how much time Peter spent in 1 Peter developing the theme of blessing those who persecute us, who speak ill of us. If we do not "reflect before answering," we will blurt out evil.
The second part of Crockett's quote also reflects Biblical teaching. We cannot let our reflection turn into hand-wringing inaction. We are constanting exhorted to put what we have been taught into motion, to show Christ in our daily lives. "Let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)