Daily Devotion for November 18, 2013
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.
A wonderful new song from singer-songwriter Audrey Assad’s new album, Fortunate Fall.
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness.
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy.
Because You are good to me, good to me,
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me
I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found.
Your voice fills the night raise my head up and hear the sound.
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God,
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy.
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life;
I will trust in Your promise.
Music and Lyrics by Audrey Assad
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayers for Those Torn by Alcohol and Drugs
I pray, O God of hope, for all persons and families whose lives are torn and disrupted by drugs and alcohol. Enable them to identify the illness. Strengthen them to seek help. Bless them with the power of your love, which imparts transformation and wholeness to those who trust in your name. Grant that as they walk this tortured road, they may journey together, bound close together in the bond of love. Shine your light upon them, Lord Christ, that they may see the path out of their misery, and give them the strength to follow it.
Benediction (from Colossians 3)
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
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.
Somebody is Watching
A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian... and most of all, his family ought to know.
~ D. L. Moody
Matthew 12:46-50 (ESV)
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Notes on the Scripture
The subject here could not be more painful to most people, for it depicts Christ's mother — and remember, his mother was not just any woman, but the much venerated Virgin Mary — and his brothers, including (Saint) James, asking to see him; and he apparently refuses. Even more painful, there is an inference that he denied them as his family.
But note: This passage does not actually state whether Christ disavowed any member of his family or whether, on the other hand, He subsequently spoke with them. One must be careful not to confuse inference, a fallible creation of the human mind, with Scripture, the infallible Word of God. The explicit lesson here is that those who do the will of God are our family, not that we must reject natural family who are not believers.
Christ also taught, “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter . . .” (Luke 12:49-53), but this is prophetic, not imperative.
If we consider any earthly loyalty, we are likely to find that the New Testament, at some point, admonishes us that it must take back seat to our loyalty to God and our love for our fellow believers. For example, love of country. Paul tells us: “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish . . . . Brothers, join in imitating me . . . . our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3)
Few of us have ever met, at least in our daily lives, someone so utterly devout as to abandon everything in their life but Christ; and we must always keep in mind “Rule #1 of Christianity”: Forgiveness for falling short of the glory of God, a redemption through grace. Nevertheless, even if we fall short, it should always be our goal to imitate Christ. And to Christ, family, race, nation, possessions, pride, status, and life itself were all subordinated to the Kingdom of God.
Turning back to the specific topic, having family who are nonbelievers is an issue many of us face. When a Christian is married to a nonbeliever, Paul instructs him not to divorce. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14) But he also teaches us not to make a new friend or marry someone who is not a Christian. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Paul's statement about making friends or marrying does not apply to parents and sibling, because it speaks to voluntary relationships; we do not choose our family. So, the quote from 2 Cor. does not tell us to disown our existing families when we accept Christ. But Christ's painful example in today's Scripture would surely instruct us that our primary allegiance is to fellow Christians: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”