We no longer stand outside the Holy of Holies, but we are invited behind the veil, right into Your presence and there You call us friends. Picturing that moment is both difficult and sublime. Such truth is too great for us to fully comprehend.
Father, in 5 sentences, Paul teaches us the basics in the exercise of our faith. We are equipped by You to rejoice always, in good times and in bad times. It is Your Holy presence with us and in us that enables us to raise our eyes and hearts to You when everything around us seems to be a severe weight upon our shoulders.
Jesus, Your purpose is to unite our spirit with Your Spirit enabling us to exist in eternity with You. It is Satan that is set on bringing us down and accusing us of sin. Satan wins unless we realize that we need a new heart and a new start. You “save” us when we accept, by God’s grace, Your sacrifice on the cross as one which cleanses each of us personally.
Father, at times we behave as though we have the heart of an unbeliever. Is Satan allowed to test our resolve, our level of committment? Since every true believer is saved forever, we need Your help in seeking Your perfect will in every situation.
We do seek Your blessing but help us know why You have blessed us and why You will yet bless us. You have taught us that to whom much is given, much is required. Your blessings to us should cause us to want to be a blessing to others. That seems so right and so natural compared to being envious or self-seeking.
Father, You have called us saints and yet our hearts convict us. Here You tell us to sanctify our hearts, an active process of cleansing and renewal by You, that in good conscience we might provide others with a good defense of our love for You in meekness and fear, avoiding arrogance or the suggestion of appearing judgmental.
Dear Jesus, Your half-brother James, received a great deal of specific instruction from You. James understood the Law. You taught him and us that to love your neighbor as yourself was a commandment that summarized the last 6 of the 10 commandments. We can not love a person, unsaved or not, and still be their judge. We would ourselves be breaking the Law.
Jesus, this teaching goes against our nature. We seek revenge when we are wronged, as a natural instinct of the flesh. Why, Jesus, would You have us act in this way? The answer is clear enough in all of Your teaching; one can not say they love You and continue hating their brethren.
We pray for more of You in our lives this day. Keep us from seeking revenge. It is such a natural reaction Father. We could never be as Jesus was when he prayed for those who killed him if it was not for the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
Even though childhood and youth may be “vanity”, during these wonderful years when their smiles melt our hearts and their innocence charms us, prepare their hearts to serve You and to trust You in all things.