Daily Devotion for July 2, 2014
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.
Above all powers, above all kings,
Above all nature and all created things.
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man,
You were here before the world began.
Above all kingdoms, above all thrones,
Above all wonders the world has ever known,
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth,
There's no way to measure what you're worth.
Crucified, laid behind a stone,
You lived to die, rejected and alone.
Like a rose trampled on the ground,
You took the fall and thought of me,
Music and Lyrics by Paul Baloche and Lenny LeBlanc
Light My Path
I come to you, my God, asking that your Spirit guide me in prayer. Lead me to complete devotion in my moments spent with you, Lord, for your Son has told us to come to you and I want to do so, not halfway, but with my full heart.
I know from Him that prayer is for the good of all. For you, because it is your commandment; for myself, because you love me as no other and want to fill me with goodness; for other people, for I want to love them in ways that are not in my nature and can only do if your power shines fully through my existence.
You have sent us your Holy Spirit; let me know Him in all times and in all places and in every cell of my being. When I am confused, the Spirit will bring me wisdom; when I am angry, peace; when I am afraid, comfort. When I have puffed myself up with pride, the Spirit will gently dissolve my self-deception, so that fear and greed and foolishness will melt away and I will know you, and the security and peace of the only truth on earth: the love of Christ. Let this be, Lord, I pray. Light my path.
Prayer to Resist Temptation
Holy God, You know the temptations that I am facing today. But your Word promises that I will not be tempted beyond what I can bear.
Help me, heavenly Father, to stand up against sin, to resist whatever temptation I may encounter this day, in whatever form it may come. Your Word promises that you will provide a way out of any temptation, and I pray to be able to find it and to have the wisdom to use it, and to walk away when temptation arises. All thanks be to you, O Lord, for you are a faithful deliverer; and I can count on your help in my time of need.
[To walk away when temptation arises.]
Prayer of Resolve
I bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.
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.
Make sure, when your friend has done well, to tell him; praise others for their good works, because it costs you nothing and profits them everything.
Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)
The Actions of the Ungodly
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Notes on the Scripture
In the preceding verses (Romans 1:24-27), Paul shows that everyone is able to discern God's existence, simply from the miracle of creation. Those who do not, inevitably practice idolatry; filled with blindness and pride, they make idols in their own image and worship them, whether the idol is a little clay figure, a portrait of Mao Tse Tung or their reflection in a mirror. They set themselves up as the creators of gods, a travesty of the creation of man in God's image. Such idolaters are given over to sin. Sin is not the evil that condemns them, so much as the punishment for their idolatry.
from Smithfield Decritals, ca. 1300.
Paul then spews out a laundry list of sinfulness that punishes idolaters, in today's passage. Some are general, such as “unrighteousness”; some specific, such as slander and gossip; some are really forms of sinfulness rather than specific acts, such as disobedience to parents or heartlessness. The categories of envy, pride, and self-centeredness seem to be the focus of this list.
The upshot of Romans 1:24-32 is the great condemnation of secular humanism. When man arrogates to himself his own creation, his pride and willful blindness enslave him to the perversion of his natural purpose. He has no point of reference.
The final sentence should be chilling to all of us, living in the culture of contemporary self-reference; it is not simply those who practice such sinfulness who embrace death, but those who “give approval”. The godless applaud others’ acts of godlessness.
Without God, society becomes a suicide pact. To commit murder, one does not have to put the victim's head in the noose; one need only stand quietly at the edge of the lynch mob. Paul's language suggests that general approval of sinful behavior is as depraved as the individual act.
It is not hard to see Paul's point exemplified in today's culture. As idolatry becomes ever more prevalent, general approval of every kind of sinful behavior seems to follow close behind. Governments, media, and shared attitudes ever more encourage us to become “foolish, faithless, heartless, [and] ruthless.”