Daily Devotion for November 27, 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.
This beautiful hymn was written as a setting of the 23d Psalm by Scottish minister James Bain. Lyrics are supplied since the psalm is edited to fit the meter of the tune.
To Remember God During the Day
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.
I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above.
Prayer to Love Others Today
Oh holy Christ, who has commanded us to love others as ourselves, and not to judge others, but to look to our own sins rather than criticizing our fellow man; I pray you to keep your words in my heart when others offend me, for they may fly from my mind when I am gripped by emotion. Many times I judge, many times I feel anger at others, many times I look down upon someone. And even when I show a smile, my heart may yet be filled with sin, anger and malice and jealousy.
I pray to you, mighty Christ, burn your love on my heart. Let me never forget the beauty and peace of loving my fellow man. Help me be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let me seek my glory in you, Lord Christ, instead of in my own image. Soften my heart so that I feel true sympathy, and so I value others just as I do myself.
May your Holy Spirit, who is with me, guide me in everything I think and do, this day and always.
May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle.
They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest;
he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
and he did not let their herds diminish.
Galatians 6:1-4 (NIV)
When Other People Sin
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
The first sentence teaches us how we should treat another Christian who has done something wrong. How do you treat a fellow believer who has committed adultery, or used profane language, or some other obvious sin? First off, of course, Christ forbids you to judge the person. Repeatedly in the New Testament, He tells us that we should not worry about the splinter in someone else's eye, when there is a giant arrow in our own eye; that we should "not judge, lest [we] be judged". We even pray that God will use our forgiveness of others as the yardstick for deciding our own forgiveness.
But we should not sit on our hands. Paul tells us, here, to restore the person in a spirit of gentleness, with double emphasis on "gentleness". Someone who has done something wrong, or perceives an accusation, will become extraordinarily defensive. Criticism is soft in the mind of the speaker, but a hundred times louder in the ear of the accused. Often, people will become defensive when no criticism is even intended.
Before you speak to anyone, you must examine your heart deeply and honestly: Do you feel judgmental? Do you think the person should be punished? If you do, you should probably keep your mouth shut. You are not going to "restore" someone to faith if he perceives any judgment or anger; you are, instead, going to make him angry and drive him to rationalizing his error, making excuses, and all other sorts of natural human behavior we all use to protect our egos.
Someone should talk to the person who has the knack of doing it in the true spirit of love, often someone who has a good relationship with him. In our pride, it is often hard for us to admit that somebody else can do a better job at this than we can.
The second sentence warns us not to be tempted ourselves, if we try to help another person avoid temptation. Now, there’s an irony: how many times does a hero try to save a drowning person, only to drown himself? How often does the person offering a hand up, instead of helping the victim, fall into the pit? Often enough.
We can all remember things we have done or thought in the heat of the moment, and regretted later. That kind of impulsiveness and malleability we mostly associate with teenagers, but we never lose the urge to be like our friends or companions. Yet, it is a danger Christ tells us to face: “Bear one another's burdens,” the Bible tells us.