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Daily Devotion for June 14, 2012
Mosaic of events in the life of Abraham, Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
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.
See if you can recognize the voice singing this old favorite hymn.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.
~ C. S. Lewis
1 John 3:11-15 (ESV)
Why Do People Commit Crimes?
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.
Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Notes on the Scripture
John's message of love was the strongest of all the New Testament writers, which is saying a lot, since the concept of loving your brother permeates the gospels and epistles. As an aside about gender, "brother" did double duty in Greek; it meant "sibling" as well as "brother", and one could call one's sister his "brother". There is no doubt that when John or Paul talk about loving one's brothers, they are not differentiating between sexes whatsoever.
There is some gender differentiation in the New Testament, which causes turmoil when the Bible is studied in today's society, but in terms of love and fully sharing in Christian grace, women are without a doubt on equal footing with men. Gender was created in the body, not in the spirit. Peter may tell wives to submit to their husbands, as he tells Christians to submit to the emperor, but these are matters of this world, not the next.
The reference to Cain and Abel contains a profound insight into human psychology. People who do evil resent and ultimately hate those who do not. Cain, who was full of sin, hated Abel for his goodness, and that underlay the famous fratricide. How often do we see this today?
People getting drunk don't like it if somebody in their group doesn't want to drink. People full of bitterness and self-loathing enjoy nothing more than tuning into Bill Maher. When somebody who has led a life of positive good, such people greet their hardships or stumbling with glee. They want to pull them down to their level.
If you do good, do not expect everyone to love you for it! Evil seeks to perpetuate itself, and sinners want nothing more than to see others sin. This is yet another reason to follow Peter's long teaching on suffering with honor, e.g.:
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:15-17)