Daily Devotion for November 23, 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 “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to the famous Morriston Tabernacle in Swansea, Wales.
pilgrim though this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore.
Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fiery cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through;
be thou still my Strength and Shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
bear me through the swelling current,
land me safe on Canaan's side;
songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee.
Music by John Hughes (1907)
Lyrics by William Williams (1771)
For the Spirit of Prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,
Prayer for Forgiveness
Almighty and most merciful Father, I have erred and strayed from your ways like a lost sheep. I have followed too much the devices and desires of my own heart. I have offended against your holy laws. I have left undone those things which I ought to have done; and I have done those things which I ought not to have done; and there is no good in me. O Lord, have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner. Spare all those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to your promises declared to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. And Grant that I and all who confess his holy name may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to his glory and not our own,
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.
Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love.
Grant me the Spirit of Fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.
the Spirit of Piety that I may find peace and fulfillment in serving You, while serving others;
the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation;
the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself, and thus grow in holiness;
the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your truth;
the Spirit of Counsel that I may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;
Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may aspire to the things that last forever;
Teach me to be Your faithful disciple. Animate me with Your Spirit in every aspect of my life, today and throughout the week to come.
[May I find peace and fulfillment in serving others.]
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, this day 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 52:1-4 (NKJV)
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
You love evil more than good,
Lying rather than speaking righteousness.
You love all devouring words,
You deceitful tongue.
James 1:19-25 (NASB)
Practicing Our Faith
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Notes on the Scripture
In the midst of the trials and temptations we face as believers, James tells us that we can persevere and profit by them to the extent that we walk in the wisdom of a divine rather than human perspective. God's gifts are always good and He never tempts us. When we succumb to temptation, it is because we have taken our eyes off Him and forgotten who we have become in Christ.
Beginning in 1:19, James moves from the level of knowledge of the truth to application of the truth or from perspective to practice. “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” The Greek writer Plutarch observed that ”nature has given to each of us two ears and one tongue, because we ought to do less talking than listening.“ In the context, the apostle seems to be telling us to be quick to listen to the Word during times of adversity before we react with careless words or anger.
We are constantly reinforcing and serving either good or bad habits. It is easy to slip into the bad habit of responding to circumstances before pausing to consider the biblical principles that relate to them. When this happens, we will tend to speak too quickly and react with anger because we are not viewing our situation in the proper light. And “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20).
For this reason, James tells us that it is imperative that we form the habit of listening to the Word with a will to obey it before responding to our circumstances in speech or action. This is sound wisdom for all our relationships:
- He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame (Prov. 18:13).
- A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of under- standing is even-tempered (Prov. 17:27).
- Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue (Prov. 17:28).
- Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him (Prov. 29:20).
- A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult (Prov. 12:16).