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Daily Devotion for May 9, 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.
Alan Jackson does a great version of How Great Thou Art with an old-fashioned, “country” feel.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
To Keep Christ in Mind During the Day
Oh Lord Christ, it is so, so very difficult sometimes to keep you at the front of my mind and in the center of my heart, to let you guide my thoughts and actions during the pressure and rush of the day. Much of the time I completely forget you; I act from my own mind and heart, living in this world. It is so bad on some days that I will rush through whatever prayers I say, or fail to read your Word with any conviction.
This is not how I want to live. Please, Lord God, so fill me with your Holy Spirit that I have you in mind with my every thought and act. Lead me to take that first step every day to open my Bible, and to fold my hands and close my eyes. Let me put you first, Lord God, and realize that the pressures of the world are illusory: but your Word is forever.
Prayer for Goodness
Lord, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent, At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent. Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see: That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me. Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath; O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!
From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope
[What is “impious Discontent”, and where do I show it in my life?]
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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 23:1-3 (ESV)
When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
James 4:7-10 (NASB)
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
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.
It is often taught that repentance means to change your mind about something (e.g., salvation or sin), and that confession means to agree with God about your sins. While this is true, it is only part of the story. If we reduce repentance and confession to an intellectual exercise, we become vulnerable to a flippant attitude that minimizes the gravity of sin. True repentance involves a “godly sorrow” over sin in the life of a believer (2 Cor. 7:11).
When Paul said, “Wretched man that I am!” (Rom. 7:24), he used an adjective that is related to the verb translated “Be miserable” in James 4:9. Notice the way Paul speaks of repentance in his description of how the Corinthian church responded to his letter:
I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! (2 Cor. 7:9-11).
Repentance in the biblical sense affects not only the mind and emotions (attitudes), but also the will (actions). This is precisely what James requires of his readers. They must mourn over their worldliness which has put them in opposition to their God and turn away from the scornful, self-satisfied laughter of frivolity and foolishness. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).
The next verse adds, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (Jas. 4:10). The biblical order is always the same: “humility goes before honor” (Prov. 18:12; cf. 11:2; 16:18; 29:23). Peter uses similar words: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Pet. 5:6).
Only in the light of the greatness and glory of God can we see ourselves clearly. In that light we realize that we are His creatures, bound by time and space, our destinies in His hand. It is then that we acknowledge His right to rule and say with Mary, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
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.