Daily Devotion for November 21, 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.
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
Prayer for Guidance
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
A Quote from Buddha
You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it, he will be blessed in what he does.
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Notes on the Scripture
We included a quote from Buddha today. Of all the non-Christian religions, Buddhism seems to be the closest to Christianity in its teachings about daily life and behavior. As Christians, we must reject some of its fundamental tenets — most basically, its failure to grasp the concept of salvation through God's grace. But many of Buddha's teachings lend a practical aspect to behavior that is also taught by Christ and the disciples.
Both Buddha and James tell us to avoid anger. Like so many Christian teachings, following a path for spiritual reasons gives us benefit in our earthly life.
As Christians, we must avoid anger because it is usually sinful in itself; but even worse, it often leads to terrible things. It is called one of the "seven deadly sins" for good reason. It is like a "gateway drug". Not only is it harmful in itself, but it deprives us of our judgment and our love. How many murders have been committed, how many wars started, how many friendships, marriages and jobs ruined, because of anger? James goes so far as to call it "moral filth".
Taming our anger helps us live better and longer lives on earth. Scientific studies have proven that a person's subject's hostility ratings (how hostile and irritable they tend to act towards others) predict heart disease -- the number one cause of death -- more accurately than other known risk factors including cholesterol, alcohol intake, cigarette smoking and being overweight. Have you never lost sleep because you were seething over some petty matter?
It is in this respect that Buddha's sayings ring so true. To become angry, to act out of hatred, harms the person who has the anger. We may do even more harm to someone else, but have no doubt, by acting on your anger you hurt yourself in the physical world as well as in the world of the spirit. People who give free reign to their anger live short and miserable lives.
(There is a good secular article on anger and anger management at MentalHelp.net.)