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Friday, December 15, 2017

Daily Devotion for January 2, 2014

Ninth Day of Christmas


<i>Angel</i> by Rockwell Kent, ca. 1922.
Angel by Rockwell Kent, ca. 1922. Notice the simple, even severe Art Deco lines in the angel's face, compared to the softness and more traditional depiction of the snowbound earth.

Prayers

Scripture

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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.


Prayer for the Guidance During the Day

Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,

Amen.

Prayer for Those with Harmful Obsessions

Heavenly Father, I remember today all the many people who damage or destroy their lives with one of the thousand obsessions that can plague the human mind: The alcoholic and addict; those with eating disorders; those with sexual compulsions; those who are driven to obsessive gambling; the superstitious; those who hoard obsessively and live in squalor; those whose only concern is their appearance, or wealth; or any of the myriad, baffling, and often bizarre behavioral disorders that may affect and burden the lives of your people.

Help me first to remember, when I am shocked by their behavior or critical of them, that they are your beautiful children whom you love. Give them the strength to seek help, guide them to people who can help them, and flood them with the power of your Holy Spirit, that they may control their disorders and find peace and contentment on this earth, and the eternal joy that awaits the faithful. I pray this in the name of Christ, who loved beyond all love and was always pleased to heal those who came to Him in faith.

Amen.

Doxology

And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.


Art Deco Christmas Angel by Rockwell Kent, ca. 1928
Another Christmas Angel by Rockwell Kent, ca. 1928. His Art Deco stylization has become more mature here.

New Year's Resolutions

Resolution One: I will live for God.

Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.

~ Jonathan Edwards, 1737

Blue Latin Cross

James 1:13-15, 19-23, 26

“Walking the Walk”

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. . . .

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. . . .

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.


Notes on the Scripture

It is that time of year, the time when people make New Years' Resolutions. Proverbial wisdom is that these are not worth very much, as they are kept for a few weeks or perhaps several months, and then the maker slowly slides back into old habits. Well, phooey! How are we supposed to improve ourselves if we don't even try?

There is a difficulty with the doctrine of justification by faith — the doctrine that we cannot be made righteous before God by our works, but must rely on God's grace, given solely by our faith in Christ. The problem is not that it isn't true, for one can reach no other conclusion after reading the Bible carefully. The problem is that we, being human, are apt to let an unwelcome visitor creep into our mind: That since our justification comes from faith, our actions are not critically important to our salvation.

Faith in Christ does not consist of kneeling or sitting and praying that you have faith, and perhaps recounting your sins and asking for forgiveness (or going to confession, if your denomination stresses sacramental absolution). The little short Epistle of James, tucked away behind the mass of Pauline epistles, gets so blunt on this point that it cannot be misunderstood, no matter how hard you try to ignore it:

“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)(NIV) “Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.” (James 2:20)(Living Bible) “[F]aith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)(almost every Bible)

There is an unmistakable air of doubletalk here, for James (and others) appears to bring the Old Testament notion of justification by works into Christian theology, through a logical back door. Almost. There is a wide body of theological works on the subject, but that isn't our purpose here. Daily Prayer has an utterly simple hermeneuticalHermeneutics is the five-dollar word for the principles we use to interpret what the Bible says. approach, especially to the New Testament: Read what the Bible actually says. Believe it. Do it.

One thing that pops out at us, when we read James 1, is that he effectively calls anger “moral filth”. And for most people this would make a basis for a very very good New Year's resolution.

Are you angry about an obnoxious neighbor? Obamacare? Some irritating habit of your spouse? The Tea Party?

Whatever we find ourselves angry about, we need to take a step back and consider it against an honest reading of the gospels, asking: is this something (or the kind of thing) Jesus got angry about and spoke against? Because 99.9% of the time, the answer is “no”. The only time He actually became angry to the point of violence was with people seeking to make a profit from worship, i.e. the moneychangers in the temple. He did not even condemn sinners; in fact, he actually taught against those who did condemn them. E.g. John 9:1-11; Matthew 7:1-5.

The implications of James' and Christ's comments on anger go far beyond the space we have to discuss them here. But the teachings are so commonly ignored by professed Christians that learning and implementing what the New Testament teaches about anger would make an excellent New Year's resolution.



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Acts 18:9: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”


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If you are new to Daily Prayer, welcome. This page provides a non-denominational, Bible-based devotion every day, including prayers, Scripture, Bible study, music, and art, designed to be usable for worship and the deepening of faith by any person who confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

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Comments (6)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of January 2, 2014 | Daily Prayer
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anthony murphy (great sutton, UK) says...
may every day of the new year glow with good cheer and happiness for you , your team and all your family happy new year
2nd January 2014 11:05am
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Judy McGrath (Middletown, US) says...
I read the daily prayer every day...or at least I try to. Today's message about anger leaves me in need of some counsel. We should consider if Jesus would get angry over whatever it is that angers us and do as he would do. I need to know, as a mother and grandmother, are we to totally remove ourselves from commenting about a behavior or action on the part of our child or grandchild that we feel is necessary....only in our ongoing attempt to "teach" our loved ones about doing the ... Read More
2nd January 2014 10:16am
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Mason (Atlanta GA, US) says...
Judy, I cannot possibly comment on such a situation, as to whether, how much or in what manner you "should" get involved criticizing or making suggestions about a family member or fellow employee, or both. My concern is about you and your walk with the Holy Spirit. Neither the things of this world nor our judgments about the actions of other people should interfere with our duty to love and forgive. When it comes to the behavior of someone in our church, Paul tells us to take them ... Read More
2nd January 2014 11:04am
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Chris Ingersoll (Napanee, Canada) says...
Hi Judy I am sure you understand that to not comment on inappropriate behavoirs or the lack of expected behavoir leaves the element of seemely not caring. We all need to know our limits and if we overstep them or do not meet a certain standard we should be advised about it. Without direction as we receive from our Creator we drift through life. Giving direction to a family member of friend is helpful done in a Christlike way. Blessings to you and your family for a Spirit filled 2014.Smile
2nd January 2014 12:54pm
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Platt (Boise, US) says...
Thank you for the art as well. I thoroughly enjoy the descriptive of each one and feel it lends itself to a more contemplative experience every morning.
2nd January 2014 8:52am
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Peter Morelli (League City, US) says...
Happy New Year to all. Look forward to starting every day of 2014 right here with www.dailyprayer.us. God Bless. Peter
1st January 2014 4:27pm
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Tashelle Moore (Rockville, US) says...
Smile thanks for breaking down the meaning of reborn again. Great job. Happy New Year to you and the staff.
1st January 2014 2:17pm
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dorothy myers (harrisburg, US) says...
i learn more every day about God and how to understand the walk I must walk. I was worrying about how I will get what I need since Im starting over again at 52 years old and have nothing for a home. I read the scripture and the prayer for the New Year. God will take care of me. He always does. I read the Devotion and do bible study before I leave for my new job. It keeps me focused and joyful
1st January 2014 9:30am
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mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
Mason, 1 quick question! Which should we emulate, the ant or the sluggard? on any given day I could be either!!!!!
1st January 2014 9:28am
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Michael A. Loos Sr. (West Babylon, US) says...
Thank you for an excellent devotion and meditation putting Christ at the forefront as we bound into a new year, not with worry and anxiety, but rather with joy and confidence in the Savior and steadfastness in His Word! What a great way to start the new year which far exceeds any commitment and zeal for the gym, but rather a firm foundation in the awesome creator of the Universe! Splendid way to start out the New Year! God Bless and thank you for being a daily part of my morning devotions!
1st January 2014 9:01am
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Christine Conkling (Walton, US) says...
Happy New Year Mason. Thank you for starting my day every day since you created this site! God bless you and yours!!
1st January 2014 7:45am
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