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Daily Devotion for February 22, 2015
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” takes us this week to the First Baptist Church of Panama City, Fla. I had never heard this hymn before, but I do love to learn something new!
I'll meet you in the morning by the bright riverside,
When all sorrow has drifted away.
I'll be standing at the portals when the gates open wide,
At the close of life's long weary day.
I'll meet you in the morning with a how do you do
And we'll sit down by the river and when all the rapture is renewed.
You'll know me in the morning by the smile that I wear,
When I meet you in the morning In the city that is built four square.
I will meet you in the morning in the sweet by and by
And exchange the old cross for a crown.
There will be no disappointments and nobody shall die,
In that land when life's sun goeth down.
Music and Lyrics by Albert E. Brumley
Prayer of Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ's sake.
Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.
Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.] But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.
For Eternal Life
O Merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life; whoever lives and believes in Him, will not die eternally, but have everlasting life. You have taught us, by the holy Apostle Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for those who sleep in him.
I humbly beseech you, O Father, to raise me and all who confess your holy name, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we depart this life, we may rest in Him; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in your sight. I pray that you will give us that blessing, which your well-beloved Son will then pronounce to all who love and fear you, saying, Come, you blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Grant this, I beseech you, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer.
Heavenly Father, I have spent my life constantly wanting more. Let me be content. If I am having trouble paying my bills, let me look to those who live in cardboard shacks without clean water; if my vision is poor, let me help the blind; if my mobility is impaired, let me visit a prison filled with those who can walk and run; if I envy the young, let me pray for those who were killed by their mothers in the womb.
I too often look to those who have something I do not, or more of something I want; let me give thanks for the great bounty you have showered upon me, oh Lord, remembering in my envy and pain that all I have is a gift from you. In the name of Christ I pray,
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
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 139:13-16 (NASB)
You formed my inward parts;
You wove me together in my mother's womb.
I thank You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
And my soul knows it full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in secret
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo,
And all the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book
Before one of them came to be.
James 2:19-26 (ESV)
Faith Without Works is Dead
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.
24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Notes on the Scripture
We have a guest commentary today, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta.
It is significant that the quotation, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” comes from Genesis 15:6 when Abraham believed God's promise that he would be given a son. Because of his faith, Abraham was declared righteous (justified) by God from that moment. But from a human perspective, his righteousness was demonstrated thirty years later when he offered up his son Isaac on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22. This act was the outward manifestation of Abraham's firm belief in God's promise. He knew that even if Isaac were to die, God could raise him from the dead, “from which also he received him back as a type” (Heb. 11:19).
Abraham's work of obedience brought his faith to maturity (remember the reciprocal relationship between attitude and action) and fulfilled the promise that had been given to him decades before. His faith was tested and his obedience made him a friend of God (Jas. 2:23; cf. John 15:14).
“You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24). As the Lord told Samuel, “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Before God, we are justified by faith, but before others, we are justified by works, the outward evidence of faith.
In verse 25, James uses a surprising second example to illustrate the relationship between faith and works. “And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” Abraham and Rahab were poles apart--a Hebrew patriarch on one end of the spectrum, and a Gentile prostitute on the other. Yet both confirm the same truth. The spies knew she was a genuine believer in Yahweh only when she staked her life on the truth she claimed to believe. It was this work which made her saving faith evident to others. But the justification of this harlot before God was certainly not on the basis of works. No one is saved by works alone, or even by faith plus works. We are saved only by a faith that works. “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:26).
The faith of both Abraham and Rahab was proven in the tests of life. The various trials which test our faith (Jas. 1:3) demonstrate to ourselves and to others the quality of our faith and remind us that belief and behavior should be woven together.
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.