Daily Devotion for January 4, 2016
11th Day of Christmas
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” is a contemporary service from Hillsong, in Australia. The anthem is Sing with the Angels.
The holiest place there could ever be;
All you can do is bow
Before the One who made Heaven and earth,
Before the almighty God,
For Him alone.
Sing with the angels.
Sing with the angels.
Singing the name of the Lord.
Singing the name of the Lord.
For every soul He gave it all,
Given for all of mankind;
Eternal life is His alone,
Given to all who believe
In Him alone.
Music and Lyrics by Marty Sampson
Prayer to Follow God's Will Today (by Chas. Haddon Spurgeon)
O God, the author of all good, I come to You for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without You I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Your power.
Hold me up O God and I shall be safe. Preserve my understanding from subtlety of error, my affections from love of idols, my character from stain of vice, my profession from every form of evil. May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Your blessing, and in which I cannot invite Your inspection. Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments.
Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food suitable for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or be poor, and steal, and take Your name in vain. May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Your will. Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within, to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians. And to You, O God, be the glory.
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
A Christmas Prayer
Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake.
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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 145:8-9 (NKJV)
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
Luke 2:41-52 (ESV)
My Father’s Business
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Notes on the Scripture
This famous story of Jesus' youth is the only real information we have about him between the tumultuous events of his infancy and his maturity. It is, first, a single snapshot of his adolescence. It is a mixture of normal life and a remarkable event, which will come to characterize Christ's final three years.
It is a very human story. We get a snapshot of Jesus' family as part of normal Hebrew society; one might call them “solid citizens”, but not community leaders. They make an annual trip to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with a group of friends and family. Although humble, they were able to afford the time off and the cost of the trip; and it shows a degree of religious devotion. They had become socially integrated into Nazareth, a place they had moved to avoid trouble from Herod in Jerusalem.
Like so many teenagers, Jesus runs off to “do his own thing” without telling his parents. When they discover him missing, they become very anxious, and when they eventually find him, they scold him for not letting them know his whereabouts. Sound familiar?
Against this backdrop of normal middle-class life, we have the remarkable spiritual revelation, when Jesus makes the famous statement, “I must be about my Father's business.” This parallels the remarkable events of his birth, although in this case, the remarkable events are Jesus' words, rather than events that happen to him or around him. We are once again reminded that this is the Son of God; he has not come to learn, but to teach, for his knowledge does not come just from what he has read and heard, but from what has been revealed to him by God the Father.