Saturday, December 21, 2019

Strengthened by Grace Devotional: 12/21/19

Prayer for Saturday:Holy Spirit of God, visit now my soul, and stay within it until evening. Inspire all my thoughts. Spread throughout all my imaginations. Suggest all my decisions. Lodge in my will's most inward strength and order all that I do. Be with me in my silence and in my speech, in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude, in the freshness of the evening; and give me grace at all times to rejoice in Your mysterious companionship. Let my heart be an altar, and Your love the flame. Accompany me today, O Spirit invisible, in all my goings, but stay with me also when I am in my own home and among my family. Forbid that I should fail to show those nearest to me the sympathy and consideration which Your grace enables me to show others with whom I have to do. Let me love with the Love of Christ. Amen.

Scripture Reading for Saturday: Hebrews 12-13; James 1-2

Scripture Reflection for Saturday: Today's journey in God's word visits Hebrews 12-13 and James 1-2.

In Hebrews 12, we see that Christ endured His sufferings for the joy set before Him. The present sufferings of Christians do not outweigh the grace, glory, and joy of what they will receive with Christ’s coming.

In Hebrews 13, we see that it goes against our flesh to be excluded and despised. Yet, there is no greater riches than to be united with Christ, even if it be without [outside] the camp” (v. 13). How are Christians in your circumstances sometimes treated as outsiders? How might you be tempted to compromise your faith to avoid this rejection?

In James 1, we see that trials for Christians are not a matter of if, but “when” (v. 2). Despite what some teach and many imagine, Christians are not promised an exemption from trials. We can, however, face these trials with joy, if we know that God has designed them for our good (Rom. 8:28, 32) and as a means of refining us. Christ endured His greatest trial, the cross, because of the joy that was set before him (Heb. 12:2–3). What trials are you facing? How can you count them as joy?

In James 2, we see how subtle and terrible sin is! Many of us by ourselves would not see how serious of a sin partiality or prejudice is. Even committing the smallest sin, incurs the guilt of breaking the whole law of God. We should never make light of our sin, but say with David: “For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine sinfulness; for it is great” (Ps. 25:11).

Daily Teaching (Catechism) for Saturday:

(5.4) The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God are so thoroughly demonstrated in his providence, that his sovereign plan includes even the first fall and every other sinful action both of angels and humans. God’s providence over sinful actions does not occur by simple permission. Instead, God most wisely and powerfully limits and in other ways arranges and governs sinful actions. Through a complex arrangement of methods, he governs sinful actions to accomplish his perfectly holy purposes. Yet he does this in such a way that the sinfulness of their acts arises only from the creatures and not from God. Because God is altogether holy and righteous, he can neither originate nor approve of sin (Romans 11:32–34; 2 Samuel 24:1, 1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Psalms 76;10; Genesis 50:20; Isaiah 10:6, 7, 12; Psalms 50:21; 1 John 2:16).

May God help you to grow in Christ today,