Daily Devotion for September 26, 2010
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.
Live worship from Ireland featuring Stuart Townend, singing Benediction (May the Peace of God)
And the grace of Christ, the risen Son,
And the fellowship of God the Spirit
Keep your hearts and minds within His love.
And to Him be praise for His glorious reign;
From the depths of earth to the heights of heaven
We declare the name of the Lamb once slain-
Christ eternal, the King of Kings.
May this peace which passes understanding,
And this grace which makes us what we are,
And this fellowship of His communion,
Make us one in spirit and in heart.
Music and Lyrics by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Prayer for the Morning
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Humility
Heavenly Father, who sent your Son to ride on an ass and to work as a simple carpenter: if you so humbled yourself to save me, how can I puff myself up with pride above others? Let me follow Christ's example, never to inflate myself with pride of status, of opinion, or of any of the gifts you have bestowed upon me.
Give me the grace to realize my ignorance, admit my mistakes, recognize my needs. Let me welcome good advice and sound rebuke, without defensiveness. Grant me always to praise rather than criticize, sympathize rather than discourage, build rather than destroy, and when I am angry at the ignorance of another, to recall my own ignorance and remember that we are all your beloved children. Let my hope and glory be ever in you, and not in my own vanity. This I ask in Christ's sake,
[Am I more proud than a simple carpenter?]
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Amos 5:14-15 (ESV)
Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (DP Bible)
Discipline and Love
14 And we urge you, do not be hesitant to chide the undisciplined and lazy (but always out of love). Encourage the faint of heart, help the weak, and with everyone, be patient.
14 And we exhort you, brothers, chide the undisciplined [n]Or the idle (see 2 Thess 3:6-13), poss. the disorderly; likely, the term is meant to include those who engage in theological speculation. , encourage the faint-hearted [o]Compound derived from roots meaning small-souled or small-in-life. , help the weak, be patient with everyone.
15 See not someone evil with evil to someone repays, but always the good pursue both for each other and for all.
Notes on the Scripture
The most prominent teaching in today's passage dovetails with the preceding verses. (See last Friday's Devotion.) Paul implied in verses 11-13 that we must not be defensive or prideful when a leader of our church corrects our conduct. But here we learn that correctly misbehavior is a duty that lies not only with leaders — what we would probably call the clergy or the elders — but with every member. This is not advice. This is a Biblical commandment. Yet how many of us are willing to sacrifice an earthly desire, not to have a friend or brother/sister angry and defensive with us, in order to follow the Bible’s clear teaching.
ounterbalancing this duty, we have frequent reminders that the church should live in unity and love. But we so often get it backwards. We seek unity and love in not mentioning the sins of our friends at church; but we create disunity and arguments about personal matters: politics, church governance, personal like and dislikes — or worst of all, our own opinions of right and wrong, that come from our own minds and not by a direct citation to Scripture.
It plagues not only church members, but clergy and bishops and elders. Nobody wants to anger their congregation and decrease the number of people sitting in the pews on Sunday, and so, the true Gospel goes unpreached and unheard. Satan's great tools, the importation of democratic values and convictions of personal liberty into church doctrine, turns church leaders into secular apologists rather than staunch defenders of the Christian faith.
Paul does not extend this duty, or privilege, outside the church. He does not tell us to “chide the idle and undisciplined” outside the circle of our church. We must preach the Gospel, for this is the Great Commission given to us by Christ; however, at no point does the Bible encourage us to rail against the sins of non-Christians. This even makes sense: It does not matter how much sin a person commits if he has not come to Christ. Good people go to hell, if they have not found Christ. People who do find Christ are attracted by love and forgiveness; to tell them their sins is to present Christianity as a legalistic neo-Judaism dominated by rules of conduct.