Daily Devotion for June 13, 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.
The Cathedral Quartet gives us a peculiar lesson in skeletal anatomy, inspired by Ezekiel 37 .
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To Lay My Suffering at Jesus' Feet
Lord Jesus, you call me to live every aspect of my life in your presence, and so I come before you as I am. With the myrrh that the wise men carried I bring, too, the pain and sorrow and suffering that I have experienced. I lay them before you because they are all part of who I am. I ask that good may come from whatever negative things happen to me, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from your love.
[Which aspects of my life do I not live fully in Christ's presence?]
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
Revelation 21:2-4 (ESV)
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
James 4:4b-10 (ESV)
Draw Near to God
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves 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 wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before 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.
The world is a powerful force which has programmed much of our thinking from the moment of birth. It is an enticing magnet which constantly lures us to conform to its standards. It tempts us to seek the approval and plaudits of men rather than God. It pulls us into greater involvement with the temporal value system with its quest for wealth, power, prestige, position, and popularity, and draws us away from the eternal value system revealed in Scripture.
Worldliness is not merely a matter of questionable activities. It is also a heart attitude. When Christians are in bondage to “the elementary principles of the world” (Col. 2:8), they cannot enjoy the freedom and victory that is in Christ.
As citizens of heaven and pilgrims on this planet, we experience a constant tension between the temporal and the eternal arenas. We are called to be in the world, but not of it; we must walk in the world without being molded by it. The key to overcoming the values of the world is found in Romans 12:2. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” We need to internalize biblical values through a daily program of reading, memorizing, meditating, and personalizing Scripture.
This has a price tag: it takes time and discipline. But it is more than worth the cost, because nothing is more life changing. There is no greater step we can take in becoming overcomers in the spiritual warfare. Only in this way will the Word become the basis for our thinking. The mind is a battlefield on which two opposing world views, the material versus the spiritual, contend for our allegiance. John tells us that faith is “the victory that has overcome the world” (1 John 5:4), and our faith is proportionate to the degree to which we have assimilated God's truth. We must renew our minds with the reality of our union with Christ (Gal. 2:20; 6:14).
Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and its ruler (John 16:11; Col. 2:15). His life secures our victory, and He is able to deliver us out of this present evil age (Gal. 1:4; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 4:4).
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.