Evening Devotion for August 13, 2019
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 pretty hymn is sung by the choir of the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School in Singapore.
1. For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
2. For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
3. For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Music by Conrad Kocher, 1786-1872
Lyrics by Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917
Prayer for the Evening
Come Lord Jesus, dwell with me this evening and be my welcome guest; bring your joy to my home this evening, and in my rest, grant me your peace; may I know your presence with me in my prayers and in my play, in my tears and in my laughter, this night and forever more.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;
Choosing a manger for a throne,
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.
For God’s Protection
O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; Defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse tells us, “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands . . . .”?
Psalm 56:1-4 (NKJV)
Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)
Forgiveness  — Making Peace with Others
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Notes on the Scripture
reviously we discussed the importance of forgiveness and how to overcome some of the difficulties when forgiveness seems impossible. The flip side of forgiveness is making amends—when you have done something that has caused someone to be angry with you—and very often, the two problems come in one basket.
This may be harder than it sounds, because nowhere does Christ limit our duty to make peace to situations where we think we have done something wrong. The issue, to Christ, is not who is “right” or “wrong”; the only issue is whether someone is angry with you for something you have said or done. Nor are we justified because the other person hurt us first. Christ tells us that if our brother slaps our cheek, we should turn our head so that he can slap the other cheek.
Cain and Abel
Critical words sound more hurtful to the target than to the person speaking them, and deeds that hurt another seem far more serious to the victim than the perpetrator. This is such a powerful truth that often, when we have hurt someone else deeply, we have no idea we have done so.
And especially if we are actually accused of doing something wrong, we generate a one-sided wall of defensiveness and self-righteousness like an attorney in court. We are champions at coloring a situation to make ourselves look good; and so, if we have an angry argument with someone, it will always seem to us as if we are in the right.
So we must set aside our attempts to judge who is “right” and “wrong” when we have offended someone, because our judgment will be warped by our self-interest. Our nature is to justify ourselves; our religion is to be justified through faith. Self-justification, and its big brother self-righteousness, are the path to hell. Shall we choose our own pride, or the will of God, when we believe in the righteousness of our dispute with our neighbor?
The teaching of Christ overcomes this. Christ has told us, flat out, that if we offend someone, we must apologize. And this duty is so strong that we may not come before God, we may not even worship before His altar, until we are reconciled.
If we have offended someone, we must apologize and make amends whether or not we think we have done something wrong. Our duty is to be reconciled, not to be vindicated.
And a true apology does not mean saying, “I am sorry that you made the mistake of misinterpreting my (perfectly justified) words/actions and became unreasonably angry.” A true apology admits error; it seeks to see a disagreement from the eyes of the other person. A true apology is “I am sorry I did what I did and said what I said.” Not because we were wrong, but because we angered and hurt someone who, even if we don’t like them very much, is God’s beautiful and beloved child.
This particular passage uses the term “brother (or sister),” so it is possible to read the duty as pertaining only to other Christians.