Daily Devotion for November 24, 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.
A bright and happy contemporary worship video, with lyrics, to get us feeling good this week.
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
For All Who Sin
Mighty Jesus, you are the radiant dawn bringing life into the world, and yet there are those who would hide in the shadows and under cover, in the caves of the flesh, telling each other that the darkness is good, and easy, and comfortable. I pray dear God that you will send your Holy Spirit to all of them, to show them that the fearful jaws of their insecurity become toothless when seen in the sunshine of your Word, and that they might see the true nature of evil, which hides with them in the dark, to keep them company and whisper lies in their ears.
For those who have seen the light and shrunk from it, I pray that they may be restored, and that you will ease the terrible pain that drove them to hide from you, that they might be assured of forgiveness if they will only repent. Lighten the minds of those who have been warped by anger, by bitterness, by selfishness, or by the allure of glittering bangles of wealth or status or pride.
Have mercy on me, dear Jesus, where I have strayed; and bring your light to all our brothers and sisters, that they may seek your mercy also, and find your perfect and eternal life.
[Living in the sunshine of Christ.]
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 Thess. 3:9-13 (DP)
9-10 We cannot thank God enough. Our most grateful prayers are not adequate to express the joy you have brought us. Still, we pray for you in earnest, night and day, hoping to see your faces soon. We are eager to help you out as best we can, and there is no substitute for being there in person, especially for building up your confidence .
11-13 Here, then, is our prayer:
May God our Father and our Lord Jesus direct our feet to your door; and may the Lord grant you an overflowing abundance of love, for one another and for all men, just as we love you; and may He establish your hearts in all holiness, that you may be blameless before Him in the coming of Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.
8 for now we live if you stand fast in lord.
9 For what thanksgiving are we able to god to repay concerning you for all the joy which we rejoice on account of you before the god of us,
10 night and day beyond all measure asking to see of you the face and to put in order the needs 2Alt. deficiencies. of the faith of you?
11 And may himself the god and father of us and the lord of us Jesus direct the path of us to you;
12 and may you the lord cause to increase and cause to abound in love for one another and for all, just as also we for you,
13 in order to establish of you the hearts blameless in holiness before the god and father of us in the coming of the lord of us Jesus with all of the saints of him. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
The Foundation of Christian Doctrine
These verses wrap up the first section of the epistle, a long sermon of encouragement, praise, and love, with some subtle guidance on how to evangelize, using the technique of indirect hortatory. Paul's unabashed emotionalism reaches a crescendo, especially when verse 8 is included; one might read v.8 to imply that Paul's very life depends on the faithfulness of the readers!
Yet if his hyperbole makes him sound like a lovesick Victorian suitor to us, is it his overstatement, or the cynicism of the modern eye? If we look at Christ's teaching, we must accuse ourselves and admire Paul. Christ does not call us to love Him with half our heart. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;” (Luke 10:27) How many people can we say follow that teaching?
That Paul has such enthusiasm for the future, despite the sufferings about which he has warned and continues to predict, has a special meaning. Remember, this is the first epistle — actually, the first book written in the New Testament — and can be seen as the establishing document of Christianity, that is, the church in the age after Christ's ascension. The “gods” whom the Greeks were accustomed to worship were not good, and they did not care about people very much. They certainly were not thought to change their behavior in response to prayers. They were bound to the Fates, just as human beings were. People did not love them; they did worship them and sacrifice to them, hoping to minimize the damage from their seemingly incoherent and random whims.
If you have ever watched Lawrence of Arabia, remember what the Muslim Arabs remarked when a man, whom Lawrence had courageously rescued from the desert, was shot? “It was written.” The man's death was ordained. Lawrence was wrong, or at best foolish, to try to save him. Such fatalism infuses the doctrine of every religion on earth, except one: and we see, in 1 Thessalonians, the creation of this trait — the unique optimism of Christianity.
Any person, no matter how poor or humble, no matter how evil he has acted previously, can find salvation; and he doesn't need money, or power, or elaborate ritual to do it. It is accomplished by faith, by love for his fellow man and by the optimism itself. For in Christian doctrine, hope is considered a desirable and even necessary attribute, to be cultivated in one's own life and encouraged in others.
One can only surmise the effect this had on the Greeks of Thessalonica. This was Good News, indeed!