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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for December 2, 2014

God is Love | 1 John 4:8
Artwork (Will Rogers) by Howard Finster, ca. 1976.



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Lord's Prayer

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.


It is time to start thinking about Advent, and this is a wonderful song with an underlying Christmas theme.

Prayer To Do God's Will Today

Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.

Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.

You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.

May I do thy will this day, in the name of Christ I pray.


To Spread the Gospel

Father God, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior you have found my heart worthy enough to save, and have entrusted me to spread the Gospel. You have handed to me the very keys to the kingdom of heaven. Let me not grow weary of His cause. And by His grace and mercies given to me, let me be proven worthy of my call. As your Son taught us, the harvest is plentiful, but the gatherers are few. Let me stand for my call in Jesus Christ and take my place among those who gather, not by argument and rancor, but by living as a shining light before the world, always ready to witness to your gifts, your Word, and your glory.



[How loudly I hear the sound of my own voice.]

Benediction (from Colossians 3)

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


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.

<i>The Annunciation</i> by Edward Burne-Jones, ca. 1879.
The Annunciation by Edward Burne-Jones, ca. 1879. Pre-Raphaelite painters did their best work with vulnerable young women, and the Annunciation was a favorite subject. Notice the soft lines and light colors used to depict Mary.

Rewriting the Bible

There's a way to preach the Bible unbiblically. You can use the Bible as the springboard for all kinds of ideas, can't you? Look around in here and find something that fits your fancy and then launch a rocket off it. People say, 'That was amazing, wasn't it? Remarkable what he got out of that.' Well of course it is because he put it in before he got it out.

~ Alistair Begg

Blue Latin Cross

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (DP)

Christian Lifestyle

9-10 Concerning love for your brothers and sisters in Christ, you hardly need instruction. It seems you have learned how to love one another on your own, directly from the Holy Spirit. In fact, your love spreads throughout the lands of Macedonia. We want to encourage you in this, brothers and sisters, that your love will thrive more every day.

11-12 Aspire to live quietly; mind your own affairs; work with your hands. The aim of your lifestyle should be to become a model of conduct to the outside world and to need nothing from them. They will respect you for it.

Verbatim Translation

9 Concerning now the brotherly love 5 Fyi, philadephias. no need you have to write to you, for yourselves you taught-by-god are in the to love one another;

10 for also you do it for all the brothers in whole the Macedonia. And we urge you, brothers, to abound even more,

11 and to aspire to live quietly and to engage in activity your own and to work with the own hands of you, just as to you we instructed,

12 that you might live becomingly with6Or before. the outside and of nothing7Per BDAG, nobody. need you might have.



v9 - 5 Fyi, philadephias.

v12 - 6 Or before. 7 Per BDAG, nobody.

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - 1 Thess. 3

Notes on the Scripture

The Thessalonians have not only learned and incorporated all that Paul, Timothy and Silas taught them — a remarkable occurrence, considering how radical and fraught with danger their teachings were — but they have been getting instruction from God, as well. Their brotherly love exceeds what Paul had expected, and he tacitly credits it to the Holy Spirit. Paul's expression “God-taught” occurs nowhere elseHere's a great word for anyone who enjoys that sort of thing: A word that only occurs once in the Bible is called a “hapax legomenon”. in the New Testament. No doubt Paul, educated as a Pharisee, has Isaiah 54:13 in the back of his mind: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord.”

1) Live quietly, 2) Mind your own affairs, 3) Work with your hands. I suppose one could fill a book with a discussion of any of these. “Live quietly” is easily understood, if difficult for some people to do, and it goes hand-in-hand with “mind your own affairs”. This surely recalls Christ's advice, to pull the log out of your own eye before you turn your attention to the splinter in someone else's eye.

The difficult teaching is “work with your hands.” Is this supposed to be taken literally? Pretty much every saint, disciple, and apostle in the New Testament earns their living at manual labor. Also, the Amish, one would guess, take it as a straightforward commandment.

Nobody really knows how literally or strictly Paul meant this. I doubt many of us would say that someone who spends their time working at something directly productive breaks this instruction, even if their labor is not manual. (I hope not, since I am one of them!) But we really need to take a hard look at Paul's teaching here. We need to hear it, think about it, and think about how it relates to our own lives, rather than dismiss it out of hand. One can imagine 99% of the people who read it saying, “Oh, but he meant . . . he didn't mean . . . .”

But why do people dismiss it so casually? Here we have an easily understood normative statement, in the New Testament, directing us to do something. It is not something most of us want to do — unless we are already engaged in manual labor, in which case, we probably agree with it and feel a bit superior. Do we read the Bible to learn, or do we read the Bible to make ourselves feel better? What do we do, when the Bible tells us something we don't to do and, actually, don't even want to hear?

What about when it doesn't say something we do want it to say? (See the quote from Alistair Begg, above.)

One of the most important abilities a Christian must learn, in reading the Bible, is to read what is written, and not to read what is not written. This is, in fact, a commandment made by the Bible itself, which is to say, an instruction from God. Almost the last words in the Bible are, to paraphrase, “If anyone adds to the words of this book, God will plague him; and if anyone takes words away from it, God will take away his share of heaven.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

So, we will end on a note for thought: If this passage does not make us say, “I should support myself by working with my hands” . . . why not? Look at the words and, when you are satisfied with your answer, treat it as a rationalization. Pretend you are someone who thinks you are just saying it because you don't want to hear it or do it, and argue against your rationale.

We will be taking a break from Paul's epistles for Advent and Christmas, starting tomorrow, so you have a good month to do your homework.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Elijah the Tishbite”

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Memory Verse

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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