Daily Devotion for January 23, 2016
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.
Saturday is “Oldies Day,” and some of you will remember this television show. Feel free to sing along with Ernie - lyrics supplied!
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
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.
O God, I know that if I do not love you with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul and with all my strength, I will love something else with all my mind and heart and soul and strength. Grant that by putting you first in all my desires I will be liberated from all lesser desires, loving you first and foremost. Grant that my loyalties will lie completely with you; and that I will always have you as my first love, my chiefest good, and my final joy.
[Doing the right things for the wrong reasons.]
May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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 1-1:2 (NKJV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the Lord, and upon his word he meditates day and night.
The Way of Wisdom
When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge pleases your soul, Good judgment will preserve you, understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man who speaks poisonous things, Who leaves the path of uprightness, to walk in darkness;
Who rejoices to do evil, and delights in the destructiveness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and path is filled with deceit.
To deliver you from wrongful women, from the seductress who flatters with her words; Who abandons the guide of her youth, and forgets her covenant with God.
For her ways lead to destruction, and her path leads to death. Those who go with her become lost, and cannot find the path of life That lets you walk in the way of good men, and keep the path of the righteous.
The upright shall dwell in the bountiful land, and the perfect shall live in it; But the wicked will be cut off from the good earth, and sinners will be uprooted from it.
Notes on the Scripture
- A teenager is out with her friends, who start drinking beer and having fun with it. They repeatedly offer her a sip, but she has pledged to her parents not to drink.
- A man plays golf with three important friendly clients, who curse and blaspheme constantly; he finds himself saying "Jesus f--king Christ" when he misses a short putt.
- You are at a meeting when the group begins to demean Christians for their hypocrisy, stupidity, and superstition. You stay quiet about your faith, despite some inner turmoil.
- A Baptist minister lives in an adequate but humble house. His wife and children want a bigger, nicer one in a more prestigious neighborhood; he feels the allure of a nicer home, but struggles with his conviction that it would be prideful. His congregation and friends argue that he deserves it and owes it to his children.
ountless dilemmas face a Christian living in a secular world, where you want to fudge your beliefs a little to get along in the world. We all give into it sometimes. Even St. Peter denied Christ — three times — out of fear of what the soldiers in Gethsemane might do to him.
In today's passages, the Bible teaches us two techniques to help us resist temptation. The Proverb states that when wisdom and knowledge enter our heart and soul, it will protect us from temptation by others. As we study and reflect upon the lessons of the Bible and take them into our heart, we will automatically be "delivered" from two of the most powerful temptations others might make:
The first: being swayed by men who speak poisonous things. Sarcastic people who puncture sacred cows, who point out the hypocrisy and stupidity of others, appeal strongly to our pride. In the face of such articulate wit, one is not anxious to be identified with the object of his scorn. It is a powerful human instinct, not to be scorned and rejected, especially in public and especially in the presence of an intelligent speaker who has charmed a crowd with his cynicism.
The second, a seductive woman, involves another powerful drive. At times, the animal desire to mate can drive men and women near to insanity. Emotional desire for sex — thoughts of intimacy and love, being in the good graces of someone you find beautiful or wonderful, who makes you feel good about yourself, etc. — can be just as powerful.
The passage tells us, though, if you have prepared yourself by learning, it will save you in situations of even such overwhelming temptation. You will know the ultimate outcome of succumbing to even the most powerful temptation, and you will have prepared yourself to face it.
Psalm 1 gives us hope, informing us of the reward if we do resist; we will be blessed. And reinforcing the Proverb, this blessed person meditates constantly on God's word. And the blessing, unlike the promise of eternal life given to us by Christ, is an earthly one. "And he shall be like a tree beside a river of water, who brings forth its fruit in its season; and whatever he does will prosper."