Daily Devotion for September 17, 2011
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
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
Now may the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon me, and give me peace, in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
Matthew 5:22 (ESV)
Forgiveness  — Overcoming Anger
"I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire."
Notes on the Scripture
In yesterday's , we discussed the repeated times where Christ tells us that mercy will come to the merciful, and that God will "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". Today, we will discuss forgiving others. Tomorrow, we will discuss making peace with someone we have a quarrel with.
Truly forgiving someone who has injured us is one of the hardest things we can do. Anger and hatred are powerful and intransigent. If we have been wronged, even if we can calm our anger, thinking back to the incident may make us angry all over again. We don't want to see them forgiven; we want to be vindicated. We want to see them judged and punished.
We may know, in our mind, that Christ told us to "cast out the beam in our own eye" rather than to criticize our neighbor for the splinter in his eye; for it is easier to see faults in others than in ourselves. We may also remember the exhortation, "judge not, lest ye be judged". But although knowledge of these rules is critical, in practical terms our emotions can remain obdurate, unmoved by remembering these rules.
So how can we overcome these powerful emotional forces within us? For always, anger and hatred damage us; sometimes, much more than they damage their object. The key to this, as with all things, is that we must try.
If we cannot bear to forgive someone in our hearts, the secret is the power of prayer. We *can* force ourselves to pray for the person we hate — even if we must start by only saying the words, without truly meaning them.
God loves all his people, and we can pray that the object of our anger is God's beautiful child, someone God loves as much as us, someone God hopes to redeem. If our enemy has taken money from us, we can pray that God will grant him riches — even if we're just saying the words, "going through the motions". If she has stolen our husband, we can pray that God give her sexual satisfaction and a happy home life; if he is arrogant, we can pray that God give him honor and glory among men. It will hurt even to pray such a thing in silence, but it will begin to erode our own feeling of injury.
We can then pray that we forgive the person and try to say, in our prayers, all the things that might underlie the person's wrongdoing. We say all the things that caused the person to act as he did. Behind the terrible thing that he or she did to us, there is always pain, and loneliness, and insecurity, and fear.
If you can manage to do this, day after day, night after night, the Holy Spirit will work a powerful miracle in your heart. It is guaranteed. You will eventually take the very power of God into your life and, one day, find that you have forgiven your enemy.
You will also find that, in forgiving another, your own life will be blessed. Anger is bad for your physical and mental health. It eats up your positive energy that you need to handle the problems in your life. Being rid of toxic anger will help you sleep, help you work, and help you love your family and friends.
And, amazingly, it will do you no actual harm. You do not have to approve of somebody's actions to forgive them. You do not have to change your morals or ethics. The only effect will be to lift a burden from your soul.