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Daily Devotion for November 9, 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.
Our Sunday anthem comes courtesy of the Greenleaf Friends Academy pre-school program. (We may have lost our minds here, but we dare you to watch this and not laugh.)
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, you make me glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son my Lord: Give me the peace to worship you with my whole heart and mind, forgetting the cares of the world, and dwelling with you for a short moment with my entire being. And give me this day such blessing through my worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in living knowledge of your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Confession
Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself; and I sorrow for these wrongful acts and omissions from the bottom of my heart. I humbly and fully repent all of my misdeeds, and pray that for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, you will have mercy on me and forgive me, not by my merits, but by that grace that He has granted those who confess his name. And I pray that you will be in my heart and walk with me, that I might sin no more.
Prayer for Sunday
Heavenly Lord, I think you for this day, when your holy priesthood gathers around the world to celebrate your victory over death, in the resurrection of our Savior, Christ Jesus. Help me always to keep in mind that the Sabbath was made for men, and that your commandment to keep one day holy, not to work and not to suffer others to work, was made for our benefit. Help me understand, Holy God, the benefit to me, both in this world and the next, of taking a day every week to dedicate to you; keep me from the temptation of adding to my worldly wealth on this day, for all wisdom is yours, and you have commanded us to make this a day of rest and worship.
Make me always aware that your commandment extends to making others work; and let me do what is within my power to follow your commandment with my full heart, as you Spirit may guide me.
To Love Others
Holy Lord, give me the grace to embody love for others in spite of what they say or do, and to express the sacrificial love of Jesus by treating others in the way Jesus treated me. My confidence is in You, and I will steadfastly hold fast to You rather than wringing my hands over the evils in this generation.
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.
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 6:23-26 (NKJV)
For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
To keep you from the evil woman,
From the flattering tongue of a seductress.
Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
For by means of a harlot
A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
And the wife of another man
Will prey upon his precious life.
James 1:9-18 (NASB)
Temptation and Trial
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 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.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
Notes on the Scripture
We are pleased to offer a guest commentary on the Epistle of James, running on consecutive Sundays, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta.
In James 1:1-11, the apostle counsels his readers to cultivate a divine perspective on the trials and temptations that he says are a normal part of the Christian experience. When we understand the Lord's purposes behind them, we can respond with wisdom to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. When we are poor, we can glory in our position in Christ (1:9); when we have abundance, we can humbly acknowledge that all we are and have is from the Lord (1:10-11).
Endurance under trial not only produces temporal fruit (1:4), but also eternal fruit: “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (1:12). Using the same word for “blessed” that Jesus used in the Sermon on the Mount, James says that the quality of our love for God as well as our faith is manifested in our responses to the trials we face. Just as love and commitment enable a couple to remain steadfast in spite of adversity, so a growing relationship with God will enable a believer to trust Him during difficult times.
The better we understand the ways of the Lord, the more we can trust Him. Part of this understanding is the realization that God never tempts us: “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” (1:13). Although the word is the same as that used earlier for “test,” the context indicates that here it refers to a solicitation to evil. While it is true that God places us in situations where we can sin, He never puts us in a position where we must sin. This would be contrary to His attributes of love and goodness.
Continued next Sunday . . . .
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.