Daily Devotion for November 24, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
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.
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord ? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Notes on the Scripture
True forgiveness is one of the hardest things in life to do and one of the most important. It is the antidote for the sins of anger and pride. Forgiveness destroys a great barrier that separates us from Christ's grace. Like a muscle, it must be exercised repeatedly, for we will never tire of getting angry and prideful.
Forgiveness is an expression of one of the two great commandments of Christ: "Love the Lord with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: Love thy neighbor as thyself." We remind ourselves of its importance every day, when we pray "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." The Lord's prayer was written by Christ Himself, and the prayer to forgive as we are forgiven is a constant reminder of its importance.
This is one act that divides the Christian from the secular world. Society and the media seem obsessed with revenge and justice. By and large, secular society does not ascribe to Christ's commandment. Many Christian doctrines have been secularized by society, but forgiveness is rarely one of them. Every time someone sins against you, hurts you in your earthly life, or offends your pride, you are given an opportunity to show the power of Christ.
We believe that justice belongs to God, not to ourselves. Certainly, the secular law may punish criminals, and most Christians have no problem in seeing that the law is carried out. But we must always be on guard against the trap of the "hanging judge", a person who has internalized high standards of conduct for himself and therefore becomes even angrier and more vindictive when he sees evil in another. This is a parody of Christianity, held by many non-Christians to be typical and, in truth, occurring often enough in life to worry us.
When evil is done, our starting point must be Christ's commandment to forgive. It is sometimes unbelievably difficult, because people sometimes do terrible things. Drunken drivers run over and kill children. Rebellious teenagers vandalize property. There is nothing evil that can be done, that man will not do. But we must remember that the people who commit these terrible acts are God's children and their souls are not necessarily lost. Our initial reaction must be to remember this and to forgive them in our hearts.