Daily Devotion for December 3, 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.
This gorgeous chorale, Cantique de Jean Racine (Song of Jean Racine), won young Gabriel Fauré first-place when he graduated from a Paris conservatory. The text is a poem by the renown 17th century French dramatist, Jean Racine.
Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Music by Gabriel Fauré (1865)
Lyrics by Jean Racine (1680)
Prayer for the Armor of Light
The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let me then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Most merciful Father, I beseech you, for your mercy’s sake, continue your grace and favor towards me this day; let the sun of your gospel never go down out of my heart; let your truth abide and be established with me, and among all of us, forever. Help my unbelief, increase my faith, give me a heart to consider the time of my visitation. In faith clothe me with Christ, that he may live in me, and your name may be glorified in me, in the sight of all the world.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Which Bible verse asks the rhetorical question, “[W]ere you baptized in the name of Paul?”
Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Matthew 24:3-14 (ESV)
Signs of the End of the Age
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Notes on the Scripture
any Christians are a little fuzzy on the concept of “the age”. The Bible tells us that God's plan for the world can be divided into specific periods of time, and they are fairly well-defined. We are most concerned with three of these ages: First, the age of the law of Moses began with the events in Exodus, specifically when God made His covenant with the Hebrews at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 24:1-8)
Second, the age of the law ended and the age of the first coming of Christ began, either with the birth of Christ, or when He was baptized by John and His ministry commenced. The age of the first coming ended with the ascension of Christ to heaven, told at the end of the Gospels and repeated at the beginning of Acts.
Third, the age we live in today might be called the age of the church, or the age of salvation. Satan is the prince of the world we live in, the world of the visible. He uses his power to trap us into sin. “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) But we can choose, by faith and repentance, to be ruled instead by God and be citizens of His kingdom, to accept salvation.
Margin illustration from
Commentaries on Revelation
by Beatus of Liebana,
ca. 700 A.D.
This age will end when Christ comes again. There is some disagreement among Christians about exactly how this will occur. The Bible can be interpreted in several different ways. Two things, however, are quite certain. First, how it occurs has no importance to us. We are given hints, like parents might give children hints about their Christmas present, but the very fact that people disagree about it shows that everything is not made crystal clear. We are instructed to obedience, not to speculation and interpretation.
We are certain, however, that Christ will take care of His flock. “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
Secondly, we affirmatively do not know when it will occur. This is a clear teaching: Even Christ himself, at least while He was on earth, did not know, as we will read farther down in Matthew 24. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matt. 24:36) Anyone who predicts the end of the world at a specific time is lying.
It would appear that we are progressing to a new stage. Jesus tells us that “many will fall away” as the age approaches its end. In fact, that is just what we are seeing today. The decline of Christianity was predicted in these verses.
Christ also speaks of an increase in “lawlessness” and “love growing cold”. Using just a touch of interpretation, we might think that He is using the terms in the context of His teachings. That is, lawlessness refers to the law of God — there will be an increase in sinfulness — and love refers to the love of men for God, or the love of Christians for one another, or both; for these are the two duties of love that Christ has taught. (Matthew 22:37-40)