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Daily Devotion for November 29, 2017


This depiction of Jonah sitting under the plant is found on a 3d century Christian sarcophagus discovered in Mainz, Germany.
This depiction of Jonah sitting under the plant is a detail from the 3d century Christian sarcophagus discovered in Mainz, Germany.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.




For a Day Filled with Joy

Oh Father God in heaven: What a great day! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this and every day when I have woken up, with my heart beating and my mind able to read and think.

Whatever physical limitations I may have, whatever aches and pains or illnesses I have this day, they can never diminish the greatness of life itself and the great world in which I have found myself. For I know, I did not earn the millions of little blessings that a human life requires: every cell, every strand of DNA, every bone and every muscle in my body is a gift. I did not make them, nor the air or water or sunshine that keeps them alive.

By the power of your Holy Spirit, fill my heart with joy for all that I have been given. Help me to shoulder the burdens of my life with strength and courage, finding my solace in your promise of eternal life. I look forward in absolute faith to the glorious new body that all of Christ's children have been promised; but I pray to enjoy this not-so-glorious body, to see all of its wonders and remember that, being a gift, I am in no position to complain about its imperfections. Let me enjoy my life while I have it, great Lord. Let me celebrate all the little things I take for granted.

Bless also all the other people of this earth, O Lord, that they may be filled with the joy of life, and especially know that life eternal, which can come only from your Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Prayer for True Thought

Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and so guide me, that the clever words of men will never replace the truth which you have put into my heart. Through Christ I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

[True obedience to the will of God.]


Benediction

Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.

Amen.


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.



endless knot

Remember that even Jesus’ most scathing denunciation - a blistering diatribe against the religious leaders of Jerusalem in Matthew 23 - ends with Christ weeping over Jerusalem. Compassion colored everything He did.

~ John MacArthur


Blue Latin Cross

Jonah 4:5-11 (ESV)

Jonah’s Anger and the Lord’s Mercy [2]

Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city.

Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered.

When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.”

And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”


Notes on the Scripture

I

n these final verses from the Book of Jonah, we find Jonah building a booth, a rough latticework structure with a roof and sides of sorts. This kind of temporary structure was often seen in the Middle East at markets and festivals, where ventilated protection from the sun was more important than protection from rain.

Jonah, as we saw in the preceding verses, is distraught because God has commanded him to preach to the Assyrians, a heathen people who were often enemies of the Hebrews, while his homeland in the northern Kingdom of Israel turns to idolatry under its degenerate king, Jeroboam. Jonah would have considered them not only the enemies of Israel, but the enemies of God. Not much has changed in 2800 years, because Syria today has practically the same relationship to modern Israel!

The matter makes Jonah so angry that he wants to die. He expects God’s wrath to fall on idolaters and the enemies of His people. But the entire story of Jonah is a bellwether of the New Covenant, a glimpse at the coming of Christ. It was no accident that Jonah spent three days in the whale’s belly and was, in effect, resurrected to save a heathen nation.

The situation could hardly be more appropriate to contemporary life. We find a very understandable and sympathetic character in Jonah, for like him, our own country seems hell-bent on rejecting Christ and sinking into depravity, while factions of the heathen Islamic world seek to attack us.

The secular world will do what it will do; whether to make war and how to do it is beyond the scope of Daily Prayer. Our concern is the lesson given by the Bible here.

We must not shirk from the daunting task of trying to bring the people of the world to Christ and this includes our enemies, even in war. We must love them as God loves them, and seek to bring them the greatest gift of all, salvation and eternal life. Our duty to the Muslim world, friend and enemy alike, is to let them know the truth of salvation and the importance of accepting Christ in their lives.

(The artwork below, from the great altarpiece of Ghent, is a panel showing people of all sorts coming to worship the Lamb at the Day of Judgment.)



Devotional painting of Ghent altarpiece Lamb
Detail from Ghent Altarpiece


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Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.



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