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Daily Devotion for September 8, 2013
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.
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer To Do God's Will
Thy will be done. Dear God, I am full of the sound of my own voice, that lump of pride deep within me that will not go away, no matter how I try. Give me the strength through the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice and follow it, fighting the temptation to sin that bubbles up inside me whenever my mind strays from you.
Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.
You have commanded us to love one another, this I know without doubt. And yet all day I am filled with judgments, with resentments, with anger that sneaks in and grabs me when I am not paying attention to you. I pray dear God, that you will soften my heart to my fellow humans, no matter how sinfully they may act, and leave the judging to you, as you have commanded. Fill me with acceptance in place of judgment, sympathy in place of anger, faith in place of resentment. For my judgments and anger are the creatures of pride.
May I do thy will this day and for all the coming week, in the name of Christ I pray,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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.
Psalm 86:1-7 (NKJV)
Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
Be merciful to me, O Lord,
For I cry to You all day long.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.
Accepting Other Christians
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written:
" 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' " So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
Notes on the Scripture
Christians sometimes pass judgment on other Christians; they may criticize others in their own church, or may condemn the practices of people who worship in a different denomination. Paul here states that criticizing other Christians because of such matters is completely unacceptable. Every person's relationship with God is a matter that exists only between that person and God.
Do we seek to put ourselves in God's place and make judgments for Him? Where Christ has forgiven sinners, who are we to judge their forgiveness?
Many priests, ministers, pastors, and other church leaders, pass judgment on other denominations of Christianity, disputing their interpretation of the Bible. Sometimes this rises to the level of official policy of the denomination. I, personally, turn a deaf ear when I hear this; maybe I disagree with some of the doctrine that is espoused in other churches (or even my own!), but what Paul is saying here is, in effect, that doctrine is not terribly important.
“Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified,” Paul tells us right off the bat in 1 Corinthians. Theology often makes what one might call “the Greek mistake”, confusing faith with logic. Theology and doctrine are the product of men's minds, including some brilliant minds. But Christ didn't come to earth to save smart people. He came to save all who would follow him.
Opinions on this will differ; and anyone should certainly be fully convinced that the church he attends will help him find Christ and, ultimately, a place in heaven. But these words are straight from the Bible and opinions cannot differ: “Let us stop passing judgment on one another.”