Daily Devotion for December 1, 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 (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done. All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
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 to the righteous, good shall be repaid.
Romans 12:16[b] (ESV)
The Conceit of Our ThoughtsNever be wise in your own sight.
Notes on the Scripture
Here is a message we can understand, because we see it so often in other people! The King James translation adds a dimension to it: "Be not wise in your own conceits." And The Message really gets to the point: "Don’t think that you’re so smart."
The sin of pride is embedded in human nature. We think that whatever is in our mind is true, no matter how it got there. If others think something different, they are wrong. If somebody tries to teach us something that we don't want to be true, we refuse to listen to them. We are all, in a word, closed-minded.
And unfortunately, nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in reading the Bible. To paraphrase an old joke, most people use the Bible like a drunk uses a lamppost: For support, rather than illumination. But God knows what is true and what isn't; and if we apply our closed-mindedness to the Bible, we sin.
And it is not just us laymen. No church that I know of is free from this problem. Every church either ignores, or "interprets" beyond recognition, the plain meaning of some part of the Bible, and most often will omit embarrassing passages from worship services.
People will tell you that the Bible says what they want it to say rather than what it actually says. But we must read it for ourselves. And we should not read it seeking to justify our preconceptions, but with an open mind. Our purpose, first and foremost, is to learn where we are wrong or ignorant.
This is what Christ meant when he said "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." [Matthew 19:14], or the first words of the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." [Matthew 5:3] We must strive to be like children, our minds emptied of preconceptions and eager to be taught, for this is the opposite of being "wise in our own sight".