Evening Devotion for November 20, 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.
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
Prayer and Penitence for the Evening
O Lord our God, however I have sinned this day in word, deed or thought, forgive me, for you are gracious and love me and all your creatures. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep. Send me your guardian angel to shield me and protect me from every evil; for you are the guardian of your people's souls and bodies, and unto you we ascribe glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto all eternity.
For a Divine Guest
My spirit longs for thee
Within my troubled breast,
Though I unworthy be
Of so divine a guest.
Of so divine a guest
Unworthy though I be,
Yet has my heart no rest
Unless it come from thee.
Almighty God, since you delay with so much forbearance the punishments which I have deserved and daily draw on myself, grant that I may not indulge Myself, but carefully consider how often and in how many different ways I have provoked your anger against me. May I learn to present myself to for pardon, in true humility, and may with a genuine remorse ask for your mercy.
With all my heart I desire to submit myself to you, whether you find fit in your infinite wisdom to punish me, or according to your infinite goodness, to forgive me. Let my condition be always blessed, not by flattering myself in apathy, but by finding you to be my kind and bountiful Father, reconciled to me by the gift of your only-begotten Son.
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.
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
Identify this verse: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.”
Colossians 1:9 (The Message)
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.
We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
Ephesians 1: 5-12 (The Message)
Praise His Glory
ow blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!
He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
Notes on the Scripture
It is always good to reflect on how much we have been given. Every day, we should back away from our lives for a minute and think about what is important. Because if we do, no matter how many problems we have, we can put our problems in the perspective.
Everyone has problems. Wouldn’t it be interesting to be able to be somebody else for a day? I think most of us would choose somebody younger, richer, thinner, better-looking, smarter, or having other aspects of their life free of what we perceive to be worldly problems or shortcomings that make us suffer. But what would be most illuminating would be to see how burdened they are with their own problems.
We might be surprised, stepping into the life of a multimillionaire, how much pain they are feeling from a child with behavior problems or who despises and rejects them, or a parent who is critical of them. Or if we choose to be that slender beautiful teenager for a day, how crushed they are feeling about not getting into the college they wanted, or the confusion and anxiety they feel about their future. If we live life in the shoes of the successful young attorney, perhaps his girlfriend is pregnant, or he is feeling tremendous pressure to work even harder and is getting an ulcer. We do not feel, or often even see, other people’s problems.
But one thing we know for sure. As Paul tells us today, we are destined to be God’s children by our faith in Jesus Christ. The most important thing possible is okay. It is a problem we do not have. Our sins and our failures have already been erased by the exercise of the greatest power in the universe, the infinite grace that has been “lavished upon us.” Does Bill Gates have 50 billion dollars in U.S. currency? I have 50 billion plus one dollars in heavenly currency, and it is not going to disappear no matter what.
Do 20 million people know and admire Oprah Winfrey? The angels don’t watch television. Who would you rather have love you, 20 million fickle mortal tv watchers, or God’s heavenly host? Would you rather have the maitre d’ at a snooty restaurant fawn over you, or have an infinitely powerful God ready to welcome you with endless love?
We have everything we need stored up for our future. Our problems are temporary but the fullness of God’s grace is permanent. How lucky we are not to be somebody else!