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Daily Devotion for October 28, 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.
To Keep Christ in Mind During the Day
Oh Lord Christ, it is so, so very difficult sometimes to keep you at the front of my mind and in the center of my heart, to let you guide my thoughts and actions during the pressure and rush of the day. Much of the time I completely forget you; I act from my own mind and heart, living in this world. It is so bad on some days that I will rush through whatever prayers I say, or fail to read your Word with any conviction.
This is not how I want to live. Please, Lord God, so fill me with your Holy Spirit that I have you in mind with my every thought and act. Lead me to take that first step every day to open my Bible, and to fold my hands and close my eyes. Let me put you first, Lord God, and realize that the pressures of the world are illusory: but your Word is forever.
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
[Christ freely pardons those who repent.]
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours 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.
Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 (DP)
Joy Despite Tribulation
You have proven that you understood and appreciated the work we did on your behalf while we were there with you; for you became such close followers of the Lord that you could be called mirrors of us, and thus of Him. Even when dire tribulation has been inflicted on you, you have never wavered.
Despite your suffering, you have celebrated the Holy Spirit with a joy so great that all of Macedonia and Achaia resound with your voice. Even distant lands are filled with people talking about how you took us in, and how readily you turned away from dead idols to serve a real, living God. We would write to correct your errors, but there is nothing to correct.
5b . . . you know what kind we were among you for you.
6 And you imitators of us were made and of the lord, receiving the word in affliction much with gladness of spirit holy,
7 thus to have been made you model for all the believing in Macedonia and in Achaia.
8 [For] from you sounds forth the word of the lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place the faith of you which to god is sent forth, thus no need to have us to tell anything;
Notes on the Scripture
Paul continues his mixture of praising the Thessalonians with describing the time he, Timothy and Silvanus had spent with them. In fact, there seems to be hidden praise of himself in the passage, for he implies that he had done something that warranted imitation: and he had! Paul might seem at times to wander perilously close to personal pride and some critics accuse him of it. Yet, how could he pretend he had not suffered as they had? And why would he want to?
He is not bragging; rather, he is making common cause with those who will hear his letter, for they, too, have suffered. He is sharing his experience with his audience, something he does constantly in the first two chapters. He lets the Thessalonians know that they have a sympathetic ear, qualified by having suffered for the Gospel as they have.
He does not give details of what tribulations the Thessalonians suffered on account of their faith, but it is certain that every one of them suffered alienation from their community, their friends and family. Harassment, imprisonment, beatings and even death were all common to the first converts; they were hated by Jew and Greek alike.
he theme of the apostle as a model of behavior, as well as a preacher of the gospel, goes hand-in-hand with Paul's frequent descriptions of his time in Thessalonica. By imitating Paul and Christ, the church knowingly accepts that they will have the same fate: the enmity of those who walk in darkness, and possibly practical expression of that enmity in violence.
But then the sun moves out from behind the clouds, for the suffering of the church is a small price to pay for the supernatural investiture of the Holy Spirit. As with Christ and as with Paul, there is a dramatic progress in fulfilling Christ's wishes for our lives: the joyous realization of Christ's truth in receiving the Gospel, the painful suffering that accompanies being divided and separated from the powers of evil, and then the return of joy in proclaiming the Gospel.
Just as the Thessalonians came to know Christ by following Paul's actions as well as his words, so they proclaim the Gospel to the world, in Greece (Macedonia and Achaia) and even beyond.
There is a tendency among some scholars to view every positive exhortation of Paul as a tacit criticism. They reason that if he says, “Love one another” it implies, “You are not loving one another sufficiently.” This erroneous assumption simply fails to grasp Paul's positive energy; and here we see that he makes it impossible to misunderstand his praise, because he states explicitly: “We do not need to tell you anything,” meaning that he finds them so exemplary that he cannot even offer a suggestion on improvement.