Daily Devotion for January 25, 2015
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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” selection this week is a selection from the Orthodox Serbian liturgy, a Kyrie Eleison sung by Divna Ljubojevic. It sounds strange to Western ears, but it is hauntingly beautiful.
For Sunday Morning
Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.
Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all gifts, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.
All this I ask in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom I have all faith,
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
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.
Psalm 67 (NKJV)
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
James 1:1-8 (NASB)
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Notes on the Scripture
Reintroduction to James
We have a guest commentary today, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta. Because of the interruption of the Christmas season, we will reintroduce the series with notes on the first verses of the book. and then move forward to James 2.
As we began to look at the book of James, the wisdom literature of the New Testament, we see that tests of faith are a normal part of the Christian's experience (Jas. 1:1-4). James counsels that the attitude we should maintain during such times of adversity is a joyful anticipation of the Christlike character these tests are designed to forge in our lives. This divine perspective can help us respond with trust in God in spite of our circumstances.
Even so, it is difficult for most of us to move from the level of belief to the level of behavior. We may believe that there is no progress in the spiritual life without problems, but how do we turn theory into practice? This is where James 1:5 comes in: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” As we have already seen, wisdom is not a matter of intellectual attainment but of moral and spiritual discernment. Knowledge is theoretical, but wisdom enables one to apply the truth in very practical ways.
ll of us face times of testing when we find ourselves bankrupt in the area of practical wisdom. Whenever this happens, James encourages us to turn to the source of wisdom who generously bestows this gift upon those who ask for it. God gives “generously and without reproach”--“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). When we ask God for the wisdom to see our circumstances from an eternal perspective so that we can take the right course of action, we can be assured of a yes answer.
The only condition is that we “ask in faith without any doubting” (Jas. 1:6). The word for doubt in this verse means to be in two minds. The one who wavers in unbelief bobs up and down like a ship in a stormy sea, tossed around by circumstances. Because of his lack of trust, such a person cannot “expect that he will receive anything from the Lord” (Jas. 1:7). This “double-minded” (literally, double-souled) man is unsteady (“unstable in all his ways,” Jas. 1:8) because he is not anchored in the assurances of God's promise.
We need God's wisdom to apply the principles of Scripture to our specific problems, and when we expectantly ask for this wisdom it will be granted--we have God's word on it.
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. I highly recommend a visit to his website, KenBoa.org, which is filled with free videos, written commentary, newsletters, etc.