Daily Devotion for August 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.
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Music by Johann Crüger (1647)
Lyrics by Martin Rinkart (1663), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1858)
For a Heart Open to God's Word
God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.
Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always,
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.
Prayer of Praise
O Father, majestic is you name!
From the rising of the sun to its setting your name is to be praised,
Merciful God, gracious Lord.
Hear us in the name of Your Son,
For He has promised that where two or three of us are gathered in Your name
He would be with us and our prayer would be heard.
Hear us in the name of Your Son,
For He is the revelation of Your wisdom, the outpouring of your glory,
The incarnation of your mercy toward us and the whole human race.
To You be the glory,
All praise and honor, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
One God, now and evermore.
Doxology (Traditional Anglican)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
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.
Men Mighty in Prayer
“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer.”
~ E. M. Bounds
James 4:11-12 (NASB)
Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
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 word for “speak against” is used of people who slander others behind their backs (backbiters). There is a difference between criticism that tears others down and correction that seeks to build others up. The former divides the body because it is prompted by pride and envy; the latter attempts to restore the body because it is motivated by loving concern.
There is a place for corrective judgment and even rebuke when done for scriptural reasons and in a caring way (see Matt. 18:15-17; Gal. 6:1). But there is no place for running others down. Before we criticize, James tells us that we should remember three people--the person criticized, the One Lawgiver and Judge, and ourselves.
1. The person criticized. The word “brother” appears three times in verse 11. While it is wrong to malign unbelievers, it is even worse to slander brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are members of the same family, and we are called to unity, not divisiveness. Believers should not destroy but defend one another.
2. The One Lawgiver and Judge. When we succumb to a critical spirit, we set ourselves up as judge and jury not only over the person we criticize, but also over the law itself. “He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law . . . . ” James is probably referring here to the royal law of love (see Jas. 2:8). We judge the law when we deliberately violate it. It is easy for us to become more concerned about our own codes than about God's law of loving Him first and loving our neighbors as ourselves. When this happens, we thrust God aside and set ourselves up in His place.
3. Ourselves. “James asks, but who are you who judge your neighbor?” (vs. 12). Who do we think we are when we criticize others? Either we will judge others as though we are above the law, or we will remember that we are under the One who judges all people. Before we criticize, we would be wise to recall where we would be apart from the grace of God. Scripture calls us to a realistic humility.
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.