Daily Devotion for August 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.
Prayer for God's Gifts
Oh Lord and Master of my life, take away from me the spirit of laziness, cowardliness, lust for power, and malicious and idle speech. But rather give me, throughout the day to come, an ample spirit of vitality and force in your service, to the benefit of your glory and the good of my fellow man. Let me act in humility, patience, and decency at all times, seeing my own error and overlooking the faults of others; and let me always know the presence of your Holy Spirit, to remind me of what I have asked, in the name of my savior Jesus Christ,
For Understanding Truth
Lord God, let me not put my trust in the words of men, for their minds are weak and their tongues are tainted by the world; but let me test everything having to do with faith against our only true teacher, Jesus Christ, and the true Word of God that was inspired through the Holy Spirit.
[God gave me this day for a reason.]
Let me not forget my prayers as I go out into the world. Holy Spirit, be with me, and let me praise you and remember you in my every action and thought, for the entire day long. In Christ's name I ask this,
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 143:1-2, 7-8 (NKJV)
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.
Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You
Galatians 5:19-21 (Daily Prayer Bible)
19-21, 26 You know perfectly well what I mean when I speak of indulging the “desires of the flesh”: things like . . . hostilities . . . . As I have told you before, those who indulge the desires of the flesh will never inherit God’s kingdom.
22-24 The Spirit, on the other hand, produces fruit: love . . . .
19 Now, the works of the flesh are well-known, including fornication, impurity, indecent conduct,
20 idolatry, making potions, hostilities, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, factionalism, dogma,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things, which I warn you about now just as I warned you before: those practicing such acts will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love . . . .
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
The word for today is hatred, but we must be very careful not to limit it to its extreme form. The Greek word used, and Paul’s clear intention, is to include all sorts of hostility and enmity. We can see Paul’s meaning by comparison with verse 22. The first-named “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians is love. Enmity exists where we do not have the absolute love that Christ had.
Paul sounds very much like Christ here, echoing the Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you . . . For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:43-46)
How hard is this to understand? Very, very simple. There is no caveat anywhere in the New Testament. There is no exception. There is no “wiggle room.” But how hard is it to follow? Possibly the hardest of all Christ’s teachings, because it is the place where we are most likely to rationalize our sin or even deny it completely.
Are conservative Christians hostile to people who argue — often in very ugly terminology — for homosexual marriage and who, in the process, call those who oppose them intolerant, hate-filled, etc.? My experience is that, yes, they often or even generally are angry and hostile. It is really difficult to love someone who is calling you a bigot.
Are liberal Christians hostile to those who point out that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior, time and time again? Very often they are.
In one church I attend, which would fall pretty hard on the “conservative” side, hatred of the Muslim world is sometimes completely undisguised. I have heard people who teach the Bible say that they wish that Arab countries could simply be “nuked” and put out of existence.
Hostility towards those whom we believe oppose us is terribly, terribly hard to overcome. Yet, “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) This is the true meaning of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The Bible gives us our role model in Stephen, who was not an apostle — he was just a Christian like you or I. The end of his trial before the Sanhedrin, when they become outraged and murder him on the spot, speaks for itself:
When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.(Acts 7:54-60)