Black Spirituality Religion : Christian Devotionals

Posted August 2001

Rev. Thelma Chambers-Young, Ph. D.
Thy Will Be Done: A Self-Evaluation
by: Rev. Thelma Chambers-Young, Ph. D.
President, P.N.B.C. Women’s Department

How quickly we judge others. We assume we know what their individual circumstances are and by our pronouncements we even presume to know what is in their minds and hearts. We think that we can judge the actions, reactions, and non-reaction of others. We judge their sincerity and their salvation. But who are we to judge, and who is our judge? In our theme scripture (2 Corinthians 13:5) the Apostle Paul admonishes the Corinthians who have been persuaded to demand proof of Paul’s apostleship to examine themselves. He asks that they examine the authenticity of their own Christian existence. We too are admonished to examine ourselves. If we would spend time examining ourselves, there would be little time to examine and judge others.
When was the last time we sat in judgment of someone else? When did we last ask questions regarding someone else’s commitment, sincerity, integrity, diligence, perseverance, or even the validity of their salvation? Did we ask the same questions of ourselves? Why not? Matthew (7:1) tells us to judge not that we be not judged. For with the same judgment we make, we will be judged. Yet we unwittingly judge others. What about us?
As we look to our convention theme: It’s thine: the Kingdom belongs to God: The Power is the Lord’s, The Glory is The Lord’s, we should pause to marvel at the realization that we have no authority to judge others. If indeed Christ dwells inside us, our wills will be yielded to Christ’s will. Our sole desire toward others would be to do them good and not evil. That means love and acceptance of others.
When we pray, "Thy will be done thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven…" we are really saying that we want life on earth to resemble life in heaven. That means as "kingdom people" we must constantly be committed toward that end. Such a vast undertaking requires not only that we examine ourselves, be self-critical, but that we also are about the business of self-correction. For none of us has reached that place of perfection. But like the Apostle Paul we continue to “…press toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

I think this is a good devotional to ponder and meditate on as it relates to Christian prayer.

Prayer XXIII by Khalil Gibran
Then a priestess said, "Speak to us of Prayer."

And he answered, saying:

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.

For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?

And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.

And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing.

When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.

Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion.

For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive.

And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted:

Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard.

It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.

I cannot teach you how to pray in words.

God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.

And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.

But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart,

And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence,

"Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth.

It is thy desire in us that desireth.

It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which are thine also.

We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us:

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all."

Be Assured
Rev. Stephen J. Thurston
Pastor, New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church
President, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
Chicago, IL

For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power; and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Many New Testament scholars agree that First and Second Thessalonians are the culmination of the nine church epistles. The first four, Romans, First and Second Corinthians, and Galatians belong together because they distinctively emphasize Christ and the Cross. The second three, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians belong together because they distinctively emphasize Christ and the Church. The final two, First and Second Thessalonians belong together because these epistles emphasize Christ and His Coming. In the first four, faith looks back to the Cross and is strengthened. In the second three, love looks up to the heavenly Bridegroom and is deepened. In the final two, hope looks on to the Consummation and is brightened.....

.....We thank God with our assurance; we have holy arrogance. We are not going to “let nobody turn us around.” We are not going to let any situation stand in our way. There is “no weapon formed against us that shall prosper.” We are going to praise God. We are going to rejoice. If we have to cry, we are going to thank Him. If we have to weep and wail, we are going to give God the glory. We are going to shout hallelujah. He never promised us a rose garden, or that every thing would go our way, and we would not have hard days. He promised he would walk with us, talk with us, and work out everything to our good.

Don’t let anybody steal your joy, because “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” We thank God that “after all we have been through we still have our joy.” We know the road gets stony sometimes, “we still have joy.”

We are satisfied with Jesus. He will make a way for us. He will keep us. He will rock us in the midnight hour. He will hold our hands.

Stand of the assurance—the revelation, the relief, reliance, and rejoice—We make no apologies! We have holy arrogance with this. We know that our Redeemer lives. We know what doors he has opened for the church of this day. We know where he has brought us from, and the ways he has made for His church.

Hearing before we answer: Thoughts on Proverbs 18:13

June 12, 2006​
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.–Proverbs 18:13
What if I told you that we are not entitled to critique something or someone until we have demonstrated understanding of what we are critiquing? If we took this little rule to heart, it would probably have a large impact on how we evaluated and talked about the world and people around us. How easy (and self-gratifying) it is to evaluate, critique and pick apart people and ideas–to be quick to form and give our opinions on various issues–only to later look like a fool because we really do not know what we are talking about.
The Bible warns against developing such habits, however, and graciously helps us to steer clear of talking about things which we actually know very little. As the above verse indicates, it is actually foolish and shameful for one to "give an answer before he hears." But what does this actually mean?
Well, if we give a little thought to this verse, the meaning becomes clear rather quickly. Think about your own experience. Recount times that you have opened your mouth to give your opinion on something, only to find out how wrong you actually were about the subject, and how much better it would have been to be "slow to speak and quick to hear" (James 1:19) so that you could have received more information. It has happened to me more times then I would like to admit. So, what are the practical implications of this warning to not answer before we hear?
1. We must give ourselves to actively listening to others. We know what it's like when we are talking to someone and you can tell that they have not heard a word you are saying but are only waiting to pounce and give their thoughts on the subject. Or let me bring it closer to home. You know how easy it is to nod your head act like you are listening, when in reality you are only planning what to say next. This is not only inconsiderate, it disables us from true understanding and will actually increase our chances of giving foolish answers. For kindness and wisdom's sake, we should give ourselves to actively listening to others–to focusing on what they are saying and seeking to understand it–not merely using their time to talk as an opportunity to think of what we will say next.
2. We must learn to be patient and wait for all the facts. Take the situation with Joseph and Potipher's wife. If all we had was the circumstantial evidence: Joseph's garment was in Potipher's wife's hand, she had a credible story, and even some "witnesses," we might be ready to condemn an innocent man (see Genesis 39:1-23). But our "answer" would have been dead wrong because we were not patient to "hear" all the facts. Had we have waited, we would have learned that Joseph actually reacted in a very godly fashion in the situation.
3. We must desire understanding more than giving our opinion. Listen to this indicting verse: "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" (Proverbs 18:2). Wow! If the habit of our lives is to parade our opinions rather than seeking to truly understand what we are talking about, we are nothing more than fools. On the other hand, a humble, godly person does not merely throw out his or her opinion, rather, they only speak with true knowledge and understanding: "In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly" (Proverbs 13:16).
The LORD will exalt my HORN
Psalm 92:10
But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.
The figure of the horn is frequently used in the Old Testament to denote great strength (see Psalm 18:2; 132:17). The symbolism is derived from those animals whose horn is the source of their strength and power. In prophetic language, the horn is also a symbol of political and national power (see Daniel 8:3-6; Zechariah 1:18).
Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. (1 Samuel 2:1)
Hannah’s horn was exalted. This shows that you can go from a position of weakness to strength with the help of the LORD.
Psalm 89:17
For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.
Psalm 89:24
But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
Psalm 148:14
He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord.
Psalm 75:10
All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Psalm 112:9
He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.


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