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Daily Devotion for November 26, 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.
I could not resist one more Thanksgiving hymn.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Using Your Gifts
Do not hide your talents. They were given to you to be used. What good is a sundial in the shade?
(paraphrase of Ben Franklin)
Romans 12:11 (ESV)
Zeal for Christ
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul connects three ideas here. Sloth, or laziness, was traditionally one of the ”seven deadly sins” and was much emphasized by the Puritans. Who has not heard “idle hands are the Devil's playground”?
Here, Paul is not actually talking about general laziness, though. He says not to be slothful “in zeal”, and the rest of the context makes it clear that he is saying, “do not be apathetic about Christianity.”
Translated to today, Paul is warning against Sunday Christianity: going to church on Sunday and dropping a check in the collection plate.
We must keep the Spirit active within ourselves, by reading, study and prayer, for the flesh is always with us and gives Satan constant opportunities to steer us wrong. It is good to have both a group and an individual discipline for prayer and study; because we learn more in private, but studying with others can buoy our spirit, increase our sense of fellowship with other Christians, and let us hear other voices to keep from making private error.
Paul also entreats us to serve the Lord and be fervent in our Spirit. We must work, somehow, for the spread of the Gospel and not be too embarrassed or quiet about our belief. This is harder for some people than others, for we all have different gifts, but we must make sure we use our gifts. For as Ben Franklin said, “what good is a sundial in the shade”?