Daily Devotion for November 30, 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.
There is a story to this week’s “Saturday Oldie”. A few months before his death, Elvis was giving a concert in Montgomery when he suddenly announced that he would sing this gospel number. He had never performed it in public before and never would again.
He could only find sheet music for the piano and vocals, so his band sat silent. It is a touching moment, to see him moved by the Spirit in the midst of his many difficulties.
With my head bowed low,
In the darkness as black as could be.
And my heart felt alone
and I cried, oh Lord,
Don't hide your face from me.
Hold my hand all the way,
every hour every day,
From here to the great unknown.
Take my hand, let me stand,
Where no one stands alone.
Like a king I may live in a palace so tall,
With great riches to call my own;
But I don't know a thing
In this whole wide world
That's worse than being alone.
Music and Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong,
Frank E Wright, III, and Michael Pritchard.
Prayer to Do Good
If there be some weaker one,
Give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be
Let me guide him nearer thee;
Make my mortal dreams come true
With the work I fain would do;
Clothe with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant;
Let me find in Thy employ,
Peace that dearer is than joy;
Out of self to love be led,
And to Heaven acclimated,
Until all things sweet and good
Seem my natural habitude.
Prayer for the Rich and Famous
Heavenly Father, I pray especially today for those who have great wealth, for those who hold great power; for the rich, the famous, the beautiful, the talented, the intelligent: for all who have been given an unusual abundance of earthly gifts and enjoy the accolades of their fellow man. Guide them in the use of their gifts, O Lord, but especially, have mercy on them, for with great blessings come great temptation to pride.
I pray especially for those who are so blinded by earthly gifts that they deny Your name, or if they believe, are blinded to their sin by their earthly glory and cannot find their way to the light. Grant them the blessing of your Holy Spirit, and lead them to salvation. Let me always forgive them when their pride or privilege irritates my own pride; give me understanding and not judgment; lead me to love them as you have taught us to love all men. For judgment is yours alone, and they deserve your mercy no less than I.
In Christ’s name, I pray,
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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
In what verse do we learn to allay our anxiety, by presenting all our concerns to God in prayer?
Psalm 43:3-4 (ESV)
Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
Philippians 2:5-8, 4:6-8, 4:13 (ESV)
n your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
* * *
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
* * *
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Notes on the Scripture
Overview of the New Testament: The Epistles
6. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians
The church at Philippi was founded by Paul during his second missionary journey. (Acts 16:1-40) It was a member state of the Roman Empire, as opposed to a colony, and its tax burden was light; so although it was not terribly large, it was comparatively wealthy. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, a prison epistle, is primarily a thank-you note; they were able to send him money, allowing him to maintain a decent household during his imprisonment (house arrest) and thus facilitate his continued ministry.
French hymnal ca. 1350
Even more than Ephesians, Philippians is absent the criticism and urgent attempts to stop erroneous doctrine and practice found in the early letters. It overflows with praise, affection, and Paul’s personal feelings about his own situation. Because Philippi did not need extensive correction, the epistle is one of the shortest of the church epistles. It has four chapters.
Paul begins with a prayer of thanks. He praises the Philippians for their faith, praying that their church might continue in its progress and holiness. He then shares his own joy of Christ with them. In this, he treats them more as fellow believers than as students; although he exhorts them to steadfastness in the face of tribulation and opposition, Paul himself has more trouble than they; so he gives himself as an example, not by boasting, but simply by discussing his feelings in the face of possible execution. He is hard-pressed, he tells them, to decide whether he would rather live or die; for to die would mean being with Christ; but to live would mean he could continue his work for Christ.
He makes one very important theological statement in the epistle, the first paragraph of today’s Scripture. It is written in Paul’s customary oblique style and is difficult to grasp. But the key point is to emphasize and explain what it meant for Christ to be a human being. God, in becoming human, became truly human and voluntarily gave up the limitless powers of divinity. The ESV reads, “[H]e became nothing”; but the phrase literally means “he emptied himself”; that is, he gave up his divine power at birth and thereafter exercised only the power and knowledge given to him by the Father.
Jesus playing as a boy.
For a random example, we can deduce that Jesus had to learn how to walk and talk just like any other child. Luke gives us a hint of this in Luke 2:40, “The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom.” He felt the powerful pull of temptation, and could be killed. He felt the same emotions as we do; notably, fear, for he sweated blood in Gethsemane just before his arrest. By being human, his perfect faith and obedience mean so much more to us, because he felt exactly the same emotions, desires, and pain that we do.
Philippians is a joyful letter and full of pithy quotes. It speaks to Paul’s character that he was joyful addressing a faithful church when he was facing death; whereas, he seemed less happy in writing the troubled churches in Corinth and Galatia, even though he was a free man.