Daily Devotion for December 21, 2009
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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Deliverance from FearO Lord, we beseech thee to deliver us from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by thy grace to love and fear thee only, fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in thee; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Way of Wisdom
When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge pleases your soul, Good judgment will preserve you, understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man who speaks poisonous things, Who leaves the path of uprightness, to walk in darkness;
Who rejoices to do evil, and delights in the destructiveness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and path is filled with deceit.
To deliver you from wrongful women, from the seductress who flatters with her words; Who abandons the guide of her youth, and forgets her covenant with God.
For her ways lead to destruction, and her path leads to death. Those who go with her become lost, and cannot find the path of life That lets you walk in the way of good men, and keep the path of the righteous.
The upright shall dwell in the bountiful land, and the perfect shall live in it; But the wicked will be cut off from the good earth, and sinners will be uprooted from it.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the Lord, and upon his word he meditates day and night.
Comment on the Scripture
- A teenager is out with her friends, who start drinking beer and having fun with it. They repeatedly offer her a sip, but she has pledged to her parents not to drink.
- A man plays golf with three important friendly clients, who curse and blaspheme constantly; he finds himself saying "Jesus f--king Christ" when he misses a short putt.
- You are at a meeting when the group begins to demean Christians for their hypocrisy, stupidity, and superstition. You stay quiet about your faith, despite some inner turmoil.
- A Baptist minister lives in an adequate but humble house. His wife and children want a bigger, nicer one in a more prestigious neighborhood; he feels the allure of a nicer home, but struggles with his conviction that it would be prideful. His congregation and friends argue that he deserves it and owes it to his children.
Countless dilemmas face a Christian living in a secular world, where you want to fudge your beliefs a little to get along in the world. We all give into it sometimes. Even St. Peter denied Christ — three times — out of fear of what the soldiers in Gethsemane might do to him.
In today's passages, the Bible teaches us two techniques to help us resist temptation. The Proverb states that when wisdom and knowledge enter our heart and soul, it will protect us from temptation by others. As we study and reflect upon the lessons of the Bible and take them into our heart, we will automatically be "delivered" from two of the most powerful temptations others might make:
The first, men who speak poisonous things. Sarcastic people who puncture sacred cows and point out the hypocrisy and stupidity of others, appeal strongly to our pride. In the face of such articulate wit, one is not anxious to be identified with the object of his scorn. It is a powerful human instinct, not to be scorned and rejected, especially in public and especially in the presence of an intelligent speaker who has charmed a crowd with his cynicism.
The second, a seductive woman, involves another powerful drive. At times, the animal desire for sex can drive men and women near to insanity. Emotional desire for sex — thoughts of intimacy and love, being in the good graces of someone you find beautiful or wonderful, who makes you feel good about yourself, etc. — can be just as powerful.
The passage tells us, though, if you have prepared yourself by learning, it will save you in situations of even such overwhelming temptation. You will know the ultimate outcome of succumbing to even the most powerful temptation, and you will have prepared yourself to face it.
Psalm 1 gives us hope, informing us of the reward if we do resist; we will be blessed. And reinforcing the Proverb, this blessed person meditates constantly on God's word. And the blessing, unlike the promise of eternal life given to us by Christ, is an earthly one. "And he shall be like a tree beside a river of water, who brings forth its fruit in its season; and whatever he does will prosper."