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Daily Devotion for April 12, 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” this week takes us to a Catholic first communion service in the 1960s. The music is a setting of Psalm 95 by Arvo Part.
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; 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.
Sunday Prayer to Christ
Oh Christ, you are continually worshiped in heaven and on earth, in all times and at all hours; you are patience, compassion and mercy; you love the righteous, you have mercy on sinners, and you call all men to salvation, promising them all things to come: Receive my prayers, this Sunday, as I celebrate Your resurrection; make my life conform to your will; sanctify my soul and body, order my thoughts, and give me victory in all trials and sadness, both today and in the week to come; protect me and bless me, and all of those who worship you this day, so that we may come to unity of faith and knowledge of your glory. For you live and reign, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever,
For Those in Pain
Holy Lord God, bless and uphold all who are sick and suffering this day. Console them with your Holy Spirit, and if it is your will, bring their suffering to a quick conclusion. In Christ's name I pray,
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
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 95:1-7 (NKJV)
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
James 3:13-18 (NASB)
Wisdom from Above
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Notes on the Scripture
We have a guest commentary today, a continuing weekly series on the Epistles of James, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta.
The third chapter of James concludes with a contrast between earthly and divine wisdom. The wisdom which comes from above reflects the character of God and is manifested in actions which are peaceable, gentle, reasonable, and merciful (Jas. 3:17). Earthly wisdom, on the other hand, is prompted by pride and selfish ambition. It is no surprise that it leads to conflict and strife. The wisdom of this world produces the foolishness of discord and dissension. “ What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? ”(Jas. 4:1).
“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (Jas. 3:18). This is reminiscent of our Lord's words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9). It is only as we walk in dependence on the Spirit of God that our words and works will display His wisdom.
To the extent that we do not look to the Lord to meet all of our needs, we inevitably turn to people, things, or circumstances to fulfill them. Worldly wisdom tells us to use people, not serve them. Divine wisdom tells us that we are free to serve people because our needs are already satisfied in Christ. As we saw in an earlier discussion, we are unconditionally loved and accepted as children in the Father's family; we have true significance and identity as members of the body of Christ; and the indwelling Spirit has given us the competence to achieve God's purposes for our lives as living stones in His temple. (All of this assumes that we have made the crucial step of placing our trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins.)
If we do not find our security and significance in Christ, we become grabbers rather than givers. Like two people trying to get the same parking space, we compete for power, prestige, status, pleasure, and recognition. The inner conflict in the lives of Christians who are walking after the flesh and not in the power of the Spirit produces the outer conflict of competition and contention.
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.