Daily Devotion for August 1, 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.
Prayer to Live this Day with God
Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank you that I can see or hear your Word this morning. Let me give thanks all day for what I have, especially your eternal love, and forgive me this day when I go astray, by my thoughts or actions; my only aim is to please you, to know and do your will. Guide my every step.
Help me to live this day with wisdom and discretion so that I may not fall short of your glory. Protect me from danger, both in the world and in my attitude. Give me the gift of a clear mind, that I might hear the quiet voice of your Spirit. Help to massage away resentments and blame for things gone by, that would eat my energy and poison my mind; but instead, help me to look to the moment, to what I can do, to work for the future. And let me never become frustrated where I lack control of events, for you are in charge, not me; and I put my entire faith in your power, your knowledge, your plan for humanity.
Your are my leader and my coach, Lord. I am on your team. Help me to keep this in mind for just today, in Christ's name I pray,
Prayer to Treat Others Well
Father, thank you for bringing me into your family. May I never disappoint you in the way I treat others. Teach me to show love, patience, and acceptance to all who come to me; let me show peace of soul and firm conviction that your will governs all. And I pray that others may see in me the qualities of character that can only be attributed to your presence in my life. Make my life a window for your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect your love to all I meet. To you be the glory and the honor, forever and ever, through Jesus my Lord.
Prayer to Gain and Share Wisdom
Lord, there is so much that I don't know, and I ask you to inspire me with a thirst for knowledge. I pray, too, for wisdom and understanding that I may use my knowledge well. I give thanks for many people I have never met whose knowledge and understanding have been passed on to me. I ask that I may benefit from their work and experience and may contribute, in turn, to the well-being of others.
I dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 30:5-6 (KJV)
Every word of God is pure:
he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Add thou not unto his words,
lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Matthew 11:16-19 (ESV)
Jesus Admires John the Baptist 
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Notes on the Scripture
Here we have the third of six modes of Christ's speech in Matthew 11 (see July 27), which is critical but not condemning; perhaps we can call it “Sorrowful Rebuke”, when Christ points out the flaws of human nature.
he song that Jesus references is apparently an ancient nursery rhyme, but it is lost except for Christ's partial quote of it here. It describes the frustration or annoyance of people trying to amuse others with music, when nothing they do pleases the audience.
John was an aseticAsetic: A person who practices severe self-discipline and abstention from many or all forms of indulgence, usually for religious reasons., much in the Hebrew tradition of the NaziriteNazirites were Jews who took vows for a specified span of time, under a formal set of rules. The could not shave or cut their hair, drink alcohol (or even eat grapes), or touch corpses. Usually the vow ended with a ritual at the Temple, although there were permanent Nazirites, such as Samson.. John, though, exceeded the requirements of a Nazirite, for he also abstained from food and soft clothing: “John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.” (Matt. 3:4)
We also know, from Luke, that an angel instructed Zechariah that his son (John) must abstain from wine for his entire life: “He will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.” (Luke 1:14)
Yet, despite his fervor and self-denial, the Jews criticized him, saying he was possessed by a demon; today, we would say such a person was insane. He would be called a “homeless person” and referred for psychiatric treatment.
On the other hand (like the children who played the flute), Christ is a friend to all kinds of people, eats, and drinks wine. Yet the Jews are still critical, calling him a drunkard and a glutton because he does not fast like John. In modern slang, “he can't win for losing.”
People who don't want to do something, or don't want to like someone, will find something to criticize; we have all seen it, we have probably all done it. If someone doesn't want to go to the gym, they might say “it smells bad” or “my back hurts”, even though their real motivation is that they are feeling lazy. It's similar to rationalization: inventing a false or partial rational reason for avoiding something, to explain an emotional state that the person, for some reason, does not want to verbalize.
People didn't like Jesus and John because they did not want to do what was right. They did not want to face the truth of what John and Jesus were telling them. And so, they invented criticisms.
We see it frequently today. Very often, an atheist or agnostic will state that they don't believe in God, because in reality they do not want to admit that something they enjoy is immoral; and so they invent criticisms. “I don't want to go to church because they are all hypocrites” might be hiding a very different and more real reason, such as “I don't want to stop having sex with people I meet in bars.”