Thursday, December 26, 2019

Strengthened by Grace Devotional: 12/26/19

Prayer for Thursday:You to whom I owe the gift of this day's life, give also, I ask You, the spirit to use it as I should. Forbid that I should stain the brightness of the morning with any evil thought or darken the afternoon with any shameful deed. Let Your Holy Spirit breathe into my heart today all pure and heavenly desires. Let Your truth inform my mind. Let Your justice and righteousness make a throne within me and rule my misbehaving will. Let Christ be formed in me, and let me learn of Him all humility of heart, all gentleness of behavior, all modesty of speech, all helpfulness of action, and promptness in the doing of my Father's will. Cast down, Lord, all the forces of cruelty and wrong. Defeat all selfish and worldly-minded schemes, and prosper all that is conceived among us in the spirit of Christ and carried out to the honor of His blessed name. Amen.

Scripture Reading for Thursday: 3 John 1; Jude; Revelation 1-2

Scripture Reflection for Thursday: Today's journey in God's word visits 3 John 1, Jude, and Revelation 1-2.

In 3 John 1, we see that it is easy to point the finger at arrogant leaders like Diotrephes who try to take Christ’s place, but we must begin with our own pride. John Newton said, “I have read of many wicked popes, but the worst pope I ever met is Pope Self.” How do you see Diotrephes’s pride operating in yourself? How can you combat it? Demetrius was spoken well of by all men (v. 12). What would those who know us best say about our love for the truth and for hospitality? What would our non-Christian neighbors say?

In Jude, we see that contending for the faith does not begin with a direct attack against error but rather with a lifestyle of godliness built on biblical truth. Personal piety is the best protection against ungodliness. The holiness of the whole church is more important than public action against error. Showing compassion to the perishing should come after we are grounded in the most holy faith and when we are actively avoiding all associations with error that tarnish our witness. How can you grow in both godliness and compassion without compromise?

In Revelation 1, we see that even writing while exiled on an island, John erupts into the praise of the triune God. What is his secret? He has experienced grace from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and longs for more for himself and other Christians. He is still amazed at the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Are you? How can this chapter motivate you to praise the Lord even in the middle of trouble and persecution?

In Revelation 2, we see that the message to the church in Ephesus warns us of the danger of dead orthodoxy, being careful in doctrine and faithful in service while our love grows cold. Those who love the truth must make sure they love God and love people all the more, for these are Christ’s great commands. Why is it easy to grow complacent with mere head knowledge?

Daily Teaching (Catechism) for Thursday:

(6.3) By God’s appointment, Adam and Eve (our first parents) were the roots and the representatives of the whole human race. Because of this, the guilt of their sin was accounted, and their corrupt nature passed on, to all their offspring who descended from them by ordinary procreation. Their descendants are now conceived in sin and are by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, and partakers of death and all other miseries—spiritual, temporal, and eternal—unless the Lord Jesus sets them free (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, 45, 49; Psalms 51:5; Job 14:4; Ephesians 2:3; Romans 6:20; 5:12; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

May God help you to grow in Christ today,