Daily Devotion for November 7, 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.
One of the most stirring hymns ever written.
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
To Show Christ's Love Today
Oh Holy God, who has commanded us to love one another without fail, purify my soul. Let your Holy Spirit empower me throughout this day, to be obedient to the truth at every moment, so that I might love my brothers and sisters earnestly, from a pure heart.
And let me always remember that I have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of your Son; born again into a life of perfect love, obedience, and service. And if I am confused or do not know what to think or do, let me think of your Son, Jesus Christ, and ask myself what He would have done. For I will follow him even to the point of suffering and death, confident in his resurrection and the eternal reward for those that do follow him in sincere belief.
For a Blessing on the Families of the Land
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary person in the comfort of families; I commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, I beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of boastful vanity, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to the parents; and fill us all with true love and charity, so that we put aside petty differences and act with kind affection and the sympathy of brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Putting away every root of bitterness.]
Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 26:28 (NASB)
A lying tongue hates those it crushes,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-9 (DP)
5-9You know that we did not flatter anyone, and as God is our witness, we certainly were not motivated by greed. Nor were we seeking glory, from you or anyone else. We were commissioned by God Himself to act as His apostles, but did we strut around full of our own importance?
You remember how we acted: as innocent as children, and as full of warmth and comfort as a mother towards her own family, because our affection for you was genuine. And you remember how we labored night and day, disregarding hardship, so that we wouldn’t be a burden to anyone. We gladly gave you not only God’s holy Word, but our own bodies and souls.
5 For neither ever with word flattering we came, as you know, nor in pretext for greed, god is witness,
6 nor seeking from men glory, neither from you nor from others,
7 being empowered in importance to be as of Christ apostles, but we were children 1Alt. gentle. in midst of you. As if wet-nurse 2Poss. mother with the sense of nursing mother. might warm 3By extension, comfort. the of herself children.
8 so longing of you we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of god but also the of ourselves lives, because beloved by us you became.
9 For you remember, brothers, the labor of us and the hardship; of night and of day working towards not to burden anyone of you we proclaimed into you the gospel of god.
Notes on the Scripture
(Note: One characteristic of paraphrase translations, like our “DP” translation, is that they rearrange the order of the text; so where the verses do not line up correctly with the original text, that is the reason.)
Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he and his companions did not flatter anyone, and this brief remarks speaks volumes about church life. It implies a message as vital today as it was then.
One overall sense we get from this section of Thessalonians is the importance Paul places on being true to God, not only in his general life, but particularly when he preaches the gospel and tries to win others over to Christ. Also, as we mentioned yesterday, there is implied hortatory; he wants the Thessalonians to imitate him in this. He does not want them trying to win converts by any means except total honesty, or with any ulterior motive. The only permissible motive is love, love of God and love for the person being saved.
The social and economic aspects of Paul's proselytizing are not readily apparent in the epistle. The most effective way to create a new organization, then as now, is generally to be popular and have people like you, and in particular, to win over rich and influential people. The best way, then, to win over converts to Christianity is to tailor one's message not to offend people and particularly not to offend the rich and powerful.
Paul does seek to please people. “I try to please people everyone in every way . . . so that they may be saved.” (1 Cor. 10:33-11:1) Yet, he has just told us, in v. 4, that he speaks not to please people but to please God.
ny person who has a leadership role in any Christian organization will testify about the pressure to change, or at least soften, the message of the Bible so that the listeners are not offended. Consider how many churches today bow to pressure over issues clearly stated in the Bible, which are unpopular to peoples' secular values. It was no different 2000 years ago; Paul faced the same pressures we face today.
To please others, in Paul's mind, meant submitting ones' person in a service to others, motivated by love. “We gladly gave you not only God’s holy Word, but our own bodies and souls.” It did not mean misstating God's Word, because that would not be an act of love; it would lead the listener away from God which, in Paul's mind, would be perhaps the most hateful thing one person could do to another.
Even worse, though, is flattery, for flattery is by definition dishonest. It is exactly the kind of ulterior motive he rails against in verses 3 and 4, which would poison evangelism, even though it would have been a more effective way to increase the size and prestige of the Thessalonian church.
In summary, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians (by implication) to give of themselves to please others, as he had done, that they might be helped to find Christ. But he makes two exceptions: God's word cannot be misstated to please the listener, and one cannot use dishonest means, such as flattery.