Daily Devotion for December 1, 2014
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.
A serene and beautiful setting of the traditional Abide with Me.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who removes sleep from my eyes, that I may see the returning light of the your day. I thank you for all that you have done while I was asleep, watching over me and all your children while we slept unaware, and I pray that my thoughts and acts this day may show forth my love and thanks for you and all you have done for me.
Help me through your Holy Spirit, that I may remember what you have taught me in the Bible and it may show forth in my every deed. Let me not wander into the hands of sin, nor into the hands of pride or perversity, nor into the hands of temptation, nor into the hands of shame, but steer my inclinations towards goodness and charity this morning and all the day. In the name of Christ I pray.
To Be Free of Mental Distress
Lord Jesus, I find myself sometimes filled with depression and negativity over what I see as my failures in life; shame, guilt and anxiety beset me, and I grow sorrowful that I am not more, that I have wasted opportunities in my life. I sometimes feel worthless and helpless, with unwelcome humility forced upon me.
Help me, sweet Jesus, to turn my eyes upon you. Give me the hope I need, and help me face life with the courage of faith in you. You told your disciples to be anxious for nothing. I give to you my anxiety, Lord Christ, and lay my troubles upon your mighty back; and I pick up your burden, for you have promised that it is light, and that you are gentle and kind. Let me work for your glory and not my own, putting an end to the pain of my vanity, that I may serve you in joy and peace all my days.
[I lay my burdens on the mighty back of Christ.]
Walk with me, dear Lord, 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 reflect the light of your truth, to 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.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (DP)
7-8 God has called us, not to impurity, but to holiness. Anyone who rejects these teachings does not break rules made by men, but the Word of God Himself.
7 For not has called us god for impurity but in holiness.
8 Consequently the rejecting not man rejects but god the giving the holy spirit of him to you.
Notes on the Scripture
Authority of Scripture
In the preceding verses, Paul instructed the Thessalonians not to engage in sexual immorality, but to maintain “control of their vessel”, and especially not to take sexual advantage of another person. The first verse today is a transitional sentence. One might call it the rationale for sexual self-control, or the general principle upon which sexual morality is founded. He doesn't really give a reason for sexual conduct being a concern of God, however; he is assuming the continuing vitality of the law of Moses, and he is on firm ground in doing so. While Christ did not teach much about sexual morals, one cannot read Matthew 5 without understanding Christ's assumption that, as regards sexual conduct, the law of Moses survived His coming intact. In fact, where Christ's taught on the subject — lust and divorce — His teaching was significantly stricter than that of the law.
But Jesus really just announced new and more stringent principles; and although he gave examples, He really left it to His apostles to do the detail work.
Paul then puts teeth into his teaching; and this applies not only to the preceding instructions on sexual conduct, but to all of the Bible itself, for it forms the cornerstone of the Doctrine of Scripture. Briefly, there are four mainThere are other principles included in the Doctrine of Scripture, but these four are the foundation. primary legs of the Doctrine of Scripture, often represented by the mnemonic acronym “SCAN”: Sufficiency, Clarity, Authority, and Necessity. Paul here gives the fundamental statement of Authority of Scripture, the most basic and important of the four. His words (and by extension, the words recorded in the Bible) are the Word of God, not the teachings of men.
Some Christians, and most atheists, do not appreciate the fundamental dissimilarity of secular ethics and Christian morality. Paul does not say, avoid fornication because you will have stronger family lives, you will be physically and/or mentally healthier, it will avoid strife, or we have taken a vote and agreed that it is best. Not even “because you think it is the right thing to do.” He says, rather, that he is speaking for God; and to engage in sexual immorality is therefore to reject God, who gives the Holy Spirit to us.