Daily Devotion for January 28, 2016
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 to Walk with Christ Today
Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your Word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.
Please help me today to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Oh blessed Holy Spirit, nudge me, remind me throughout my day, again and again, for I know I will find freedom in obedience to your Word. I pray, show me what I need to focus on, right now and wherever the day might take me.
Change my vision. Embolden me to practice what you reveal to me, for I am confident of the blessings that come from life in harmony with your Word. My life is yours: I give it to you, of my own free will, and pray you to take it up and show me your path. In the name of Jesus, I pray this with all my heart,
Prayer for Eternal Life
Almighty God, with whom abide the spirits of those who depart hence in the love of Christ, and with whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; I give you hearty thanks for the good examples of all your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now rest from their labors. And I pray to you that I, with all those who are departed in the true faith of your holy Name, may have my own perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[The importance of good examples.]
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory 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.
Love and pity and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love, and then you dwell in God.
~ William Law
Exodus 22:21 (ESV)
Treatment of Foreign People
Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
Notes on the Scripture
There is a (slightly cynical) school of thought, which divides denominations, churches and other groupings of Christians according to which parts of the Bible they ignore. While the Ku Klux Klan may seem a rather obvious example of this, that is because the hypocrisy is so clear in their case.
The Klan was neither worse nor better than a thousand other political groups that used murder, terror, violence and intimidation to gain and hold onto power, given the history of the world. The problem for us is that they were very much self-styled "Christians". One cannot spread Christianity by violence.
In fact, one cannot spread Christianity by coercion. When we read the New Testament, we find a Christ who totally eschewed violence, even in self-defense: " When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23) And among the Epistles, we find repeated entreaties that we be, not only peaceful, but pleasant. (Colossians 4:6-8)
The term "foreigner" means people of other religions. The Jews had no known racial discrimination as the term is now used; for example, they did not think of black Africans in any way different from themselves. But they were very discriminatory towards persons of other religions; as Judaism developed, they could not eat a meal with a Gentile or enter his house. They would sometimes apply laws against lending money for interest only to other Jews.
But they were, and we are, prohibited by the word of God from "oppressing or mistreating" people of other nations, religions, and races.
Bringing the light of Christ to the world has no worse enemy than the hypocrite. Both Peter and Paul tell us to attract others to Christ by our exemplary behavior. In fact, we are not to defend ourselves even when we are insulted. E.g., 1 Peter 3:9, "not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead."
A Christian cannot, therefore, be a racist at all. We are all sinners, and many of us harbor the natural tendencies to feel less of a natural, emotional bond with persons of other races; the victory of Christ comes from living in the Spirit, by which we can overcome this evil in ourselves.