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Daily Devotion for August 17, 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.
Guy Penrod ties his own life to the song The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.
Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
1 Corinthians 10:23-33 (ESV)
Do All to the Glory of God
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience — I do not mean your conscience, but his.
For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul distinguishes between two cases. Animal sacrifices were usually bled out on the altar of a pagan god, and then the meat would be divided into three parts: one would be burned and wasted, as true sacrifice; one would be kept by the priest(s) of the temple for their income; and the last would be taken home by the person who offered it. The second was mostly sold in the markets (as fresh meat would spoil quickly), and it is this with which Paul addresses: he teaches that Christians can buy and eat such meat. For how can voodoo effect a Christian? Is is meaningless. It has not had any effect on the meat.
In the third case, though, it should be refused, not because it has any effect on himself, but for the good of the person who has made the sacrifice. For when a person invites a Christian to participate in the bounty of pagan ceremony, he is seeking some degree of affirmation in his idolatry.
How does this affect us today? Most of us try not to give offense, as Paul tells us to do here. Offending or insulting those who have not found God is not likely to bring them closer. People who are insulted become defensive and critical of those who offend them; and people are almost universally sensitive to insult. What is meant as helpful criticism can be taken as painful rejection. If we are smart, we know better than to go around volunteering tips on diet and exercise to fat people.
But one of the great mistakes modern-day Christians make is to hide their faith completely. The world is, was, and will probably always be full of hostility to Christians, until the end of days. And too often, the only remarks we might make are critical, disapproving of something someone has done because it violates our sense of morals or propriety.
Paul knows what has been known by some men of all generations; Dale Carnegie is an example of the adage, "sugar draws more flies than vinegar." People react and are drawn to positivity, to approval, to love without criticism.
I am often surprised at how much religious conviction can be shown without drawing hostility. There is a postal worker in my local post office whose every moment is filled with spirit and rejoicing and praise of God. He sometimes crosses a line that one would not expect the federal government to tolerate; and yet, nobody complains, for every person who encounters him feels buoyed by his outpouring of positive love and energy. Most of us feel incapable of this; and yet, it is a model of behavior for us to consider, for I have never seen a person more likely to inspire others to seek God.