Daily Devotion for August 23, 2017
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 Day's Work
O God, who orders all things in heaven and earth: Help me to go about the tasks and duties of this day with the remembrance that I am your servant therein. Make me honest, painstaking, and cheerful, and grant that all I do and say may bring good to others and glory to your Holy Name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer for Renewal
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant me and my fellow saints so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection. Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that all Christendom, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
[Dying to sin.]
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.
You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.
~ C. S. Lewis
1 John 3:11-15 (ESV)
Why Do People Commit Crimes?
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.
Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Notes on the Scripture
John’s message of love was the strongest of all the New Testament writers, which is saying a lot, since the concept of loving your brother permeates the gospels and epistles. As an aside about gender, “brother” did double duty in Greek; it meant “sibling” as well as “brother,” and one could call one’s sister his “brother.” There is no doubt that when John or Paul talk about loving one’s brothers, they are not differentiating between sexes whatsoever.
here is some gender differentiation in the New Testament, which causes turmoil when the Bible is studied in today’s society, but in terms of love and fully sharing in Christian grace, women are without a doubt on equal footing with men. Gender was created in the body, not in the spirit. Peter may tell wives to submit to their husbands, as he tells Christians to submit to the emperor, but these are matters of this world, not the next.
The reference to Cain and Abel contains a profound insight into human psychology. People who do evil resent and ultimately hate those who do not. Cain, who was full of sin, hated Abel for his goodness, and that underlay the famous fratricide. How often do we see this today?
People getting drunk don’t like it if somebody in their group doesn’t want to drink. People full of bitterness and self-loathing enjoy nothing more than tuning into Bill Maher. When somebody who has led a life of positive good, such people greet their hardships or stumbling with glee. They want to pull them down to their level.
If you do good, do not expect everyone to love you for it! Evil seeks to perpetuate itself, and sinners want nothing more than to see others sin. This is yet another reason to follow Peter's long teaching on suffering with honor, e.g.:
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:15-17)