Daily Devotion for March 12, 2014
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 To Do God's Will Today
Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.
Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.
You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.
May I do thy will this day, in the name of Christ I pray.
Prayer to Receive God's True Word
Holy Lord, who has given me the facility to hear and understand, let me receive your Word with an open mind and clear eye. Whenever I read your Scripture, let your Holy Spirit guide me to the truth, setting aside my preconception and self-justification.
I pray to hear what you intend for me to hear. Lead me to remember that, where we disagree, You are right and I am wrong. And help me always to an attitude of humility in my study, keeping in mind always to use your Word as a guide that will lead me on the path to salvation, never as a tool to justify my faulty and selfish thought; for I am justified by faith.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
Proverbs 22:24 (ESV)
Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV)
The Temple of the Living God
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
Notes on the Scripture
“Belial” sounds like the name of some pagan idol-god, but it actually is not. It is a Hebrew word that originally meant without (beli-) value (ya’al), that is, worthless. It became personified as specifically spiritual worthlessness, and people who lived immersed in depravity eventually became known as “sons of Belial”.
Paul uses it as a vivid expression for the gulf separating the Christian from the lost. And here we have another of the least popular concepts in the Bible. God does not want those He has saved, through the extraordinary sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ and the grace freely available to all who answer the call, to associate with those who have heard the call and rejected it.
Counterbalancing this is the Great Commission, Christ's commandment to us to spread the gospel to all ears. We are expected to teach, preach, and proselytize the unsaved. For it was Christ's purpose to call sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32) But there comes a point — and fairly quickly — when adamant rejection will end our duty towards a specific person. If they are not interested or reject God's word, as Jesus told his apostles, we should move on and “shake the dust from our sandals.” Which means, using a more modern idiom, “wash our hands of them.”
Christians often don't like to hear this, because they have non-Christian friends and they don't want to stop seeing them. But it is explicitly and repeatedly commanded of us in the Bible. “Whoever is not with me is against me,” Christ tells us in Matthew 12:30. John wrote: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 1:10-11) “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Take, as an example, sex. Sex is always an attention-grabber, for the teachings of the Bible about sex are almost diametrically opposed to the exploding secular worship of human appetites. The concept of sexual morals has almost disappeared outside Christianity. Every year the boundaries are extended. Television now celebrates adultery as a lifestyle choice. Listed among the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture of 2013 was The Wolf of Wall Street, which has a hard-core pornographic scene and is rated “R”.
But our problem, as Christians, is not to stop the immorality of the unwashed, but to save ourselves from a perverse generation. (Acts 2:40) We are commanded, not to change society, but to save ourselves — and as many who will listen to the truth — from it. So let us ask ourselves: How much have our morals been watered down or compromised by secular friendships, in person or by virtual friendship with pagan television and movie writers?