Daily Devotion for September 22, 2011
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
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,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
But a lying tongue is but for a moment.
2 Timothy 1:6-14
Hold to the Standard of Sound Teaching
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.
Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Notes on the Scripture
We are often faced with conflict between two different principles and must make a choice, a decision, according to which principle we choose. Sometimes, the choice is more obviously one between our Christian beliefs and our human nature. Do we gossip maliciously about someone whose teenage child has been arrested for selling drugs, or do we pray for them to know Christ's forgiveness and try to help them overcome their obstacles? If we need money and we find a fat wallet, do we take out the money before returning it anonymously to the owner (or even throw it in the trash)?
But sometimes the line between ethical and selfish behavior is not so clear-cut. If we are short of money and can barely meet our bills, do we give money to a beggar on the street who doesn't seem, to us, to even try to be earning his own living? If our neighbor insists on parking broken-down old pickup trucks in his driveway (or yard), what do we do? If the popular crowd at our school is wearing an expensive new item of clothing that we can afford, which becomes an earmark of higher status, do we buy one?
Paul gives us, in his Epistle to Timothy, an anchor point to help us out. "Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are Jesus Christ."
The Bible is filled with wisdom to help us make difficult choices. It gives us a bedrock of standards against which we can test our decisions and actions. If we make these standards our primary focus, our lives will follow a straight and focused path. We will not feel so much confusion every time our situation changes.
The more we study and learn, the better we are able to subordinate quick or transient solutions to our long-term goals. As we internalize these standards, we will feed less anxiety when we are unwilling to compromise them. And without doubt, the more we keep in mind our long-term goals, the better off we are, not only in terms of our eternal relationship with God, but also in terms of the contentment and peace of mind we enjoy during our lives.
I hope the music for today, and the quote from Proverbs, will help to strengthen our resolve to turn to God in our daily decisions.