Daily Devotion for October 8, 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.
Note: The translation of the Zulu is difficult and the spoken words sometimes don't sound like the English transliteration, so it is hard to follow word-for-word. There are many repeats.
Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today
Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, made out of your love for us, that all who follow you might find salvation and eternal life.
Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,
Oh God, who has been the refuge of my fathers through many generations, be my refuge today in every time and circumstance of need. Be my guide thrugh all that is dark and doubtful. Be my guard against all that threatens my spirit's welfare. Be my strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with your peace; through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Father, so many divisions and disputes have been generated by issues, practices and traditions that are not part of the fundamentals of the faith. Your Church is a glorious unity in diversity, but when we major on the minors, the spirit of factionalism replaces that of unity and peace. I ask for the boldness and courage to stand up and contend for the essentials of the faith, even if it means a lack of peace.
I do not want to compromise the truth of the gospel for the sake of peace. But I also ask for the graciousness to demonstrate kindness and tolerance for believers who disagree with me about the non-essentials. I acknowledge that there are some things that are not clear enough in Your revelation for us to understand fully, but these are not the clearly revealed core issues of the faith. In all things, may I be loving and gracious to others.
[Letting others see my joy.]
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.
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.
Psalm 37:1-8 (NKJV)
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
Notes on the Scripture
We have a guest commentary today, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta.
Laying Hold of God’s Perspective
In his essay, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” C. S. Lewis depicted the difference between looking AT a beam of light and looking ALONG the beam. As he entered a dark toolshed, he could see nothing but a sunbeam that came from a crack at the top of the door. At first, he looked at the shaft of light with thousands of specks of dust floating in it, but then he did something most of us have done at one time or another. He moved until the beam fell on his eyes, and at that moment, the toolshed and the sunbeam vanished. Looking along the beam, he saw green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside, and beyond that, the sun itself. Perspective makes all the difference.
Psalm 37 is a wisdom psalm that instructs us on the importance of maintaining the right perspective during our brief sojourn on this planet. It is a beautifully crafted acrostic poem that begins almost every other verse with each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Like the Book of Proverbs, this instructional poem contains wisdom sayings that encourage us to take the long view of life and see things from an eternal perspective.
The bulk of Psalm 37 contrasts the pursuits and destiny of the wicked and the righteous. It grants that in the short run, those who refuse to acknowledge God may prosper, while those who seek God often suffer at the hands of evildoers. This poem illustrates the truth of Ecclesiastes 11:8: “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. ” But this is only a temporary state of affairs, since the sentence WILL be executed and God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7-8). “I have seen a violent, wicked man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found (vv. 35-36).” By contrast, the righteous will ultimately endure and inherit the land (vv. 3, 9, 11, 22, 29, 34; cf. Matt. 5:5).
The wisdom of this psalm is to adopt a long-run rather than a short-run perspective on life by embracing God's purposes and ordering all of our affairs (e.g., family, work, leisure, finances, ministry) in light of them. On the negative side, the proverbs in this wisdom poem exhort us not to fret, be envious, angry, or anxious when evildoers get the upper hand. On the positive side, they tell us what we should do to sustain the proper attitudes and actions in life. Four of these positive commands involve our relationship with the Lord:
1. Trust in the Lord (vv. 3, 5).
“While the wicked trust in themselves, the righteous are called to put their confidence and hope in the character and promises of the Lord. If we would be wise, we must cling to the goodness and sovereignty of the “One who causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).”
2. Delight yourself in the Lord (v. 4).
Let the nearness of God be your good (Ps. 73:28) and cultivate intimacy with Him. This cannot be done apart from the discipline of regular time with the Lord in the Word and prayer, but I have never heard anyone regret making this investment. When we seek Him first, He gives us the desires of our heart because our desires become conformed to His.
3. Commit your way to the Lord (v. 5)
Unreservedly give all your plans, your dreams, your hopes, and your desires to the Lord (cf. Prov. 16:3). The only things that will really be yours are the things you have freely given to God. In the long run, you will be unable to keep the things you have held back from Christ (Luke 9:23-24).
4. Be still and wait for the Lord (vv. 7, 9, 34).
God's timing is almost never our own, and because of this, we grow impatient, anxious, and frustrated with the adversities of life. But if we trust His character, we must also trust His timing. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6-7).
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. I highly recommend a visit to his website, KenBoa.org, which is filled with free videos, written commentary, newsletters, etc.