Daily Devotion for August 9, 2012
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.
This old hymn is done in a lovely, simple style by Red Mountain Church.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.
The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes.
It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life.
~ James L. Christensen
1 Corinthians 8 (ESV)
Food Offered to Idols
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords” — yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?
And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Notes on the Scripture
As we saw in verse 1 of Chapter 7, Paul had obviously received a letter from the Corinthians, and 1 Corinthians is, in part, a response to it. He is answering questions. Here, someone has asked him whether it was right to eat food that had been sacrificed to an idol/god.
He begins with an eloquent truth. All knowledge is vanity, for there is one truth that we really know; and that, we know with our hearts. That is, the knowledge that there is one God, the God of love, by whom all things exist. For our knowledge of God is different from other knowledge. It is not simply in our mind, but in our hearts, our souls, in every fiber of our being.
His conclusion, then, is simple. Once you have this knowledge, it doesn't matter whether you eat food consecrated to some imaginary god or not. It's just nonsense. It has no effect on us.
But, he cautions, we must take care, for if there are people who know we do such a thing and they do not have our knowledge of God, we may become unwitting assistants in their downfall. If a gullible person sees us eating food, which others have told him has power because of a pagan god's blessing, he may think we secretly believe it.
This may seem archaic, but the principle is not. What will you do if someone reads your horoscope? Do you act like some numbers are "lucky" and others are not? These are utter nonsense, but superstition can be deeply ingrained. If you have knowledge of God, you can read your horoscope or not; but if you play along, what influence will it have on others, that you have not dismissed it as the heathen nonsense it is?