Daily Devotion for September 28, 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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.)
But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.
Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)
The Wrath of God
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Notes on the Scripture
This passage concerns the Gentiles. Christ has, for the first time, brought salvation to them; but in learning of God's grace, God's wrath has also been revealed to them. But is this fair? How were they to know about God's existence, since they did not have the benefit of revelations and teachings given to the Jews over the centuries?
Proof of God's existence was all around them, as it is all around us today. You can't miss it. If you don't see it, it is only because you are intentionally ignoring it! It lies in the sun that rises every morning, the fruit that grows on trees to feed us, the very air we breathe.
If we were to find an elaborate spacecraft like nothing made on earth sitting in the desert, speculation about who had made it would be rampant. We would examine every angle, to try to figure out what the aliens who had made it were like.
But every human who has lived sees a vastly more fantastic sight every day: the world and all that is in it. God holds them responsible for not inquiring about who had created it, but instead, suppressing the obvious truth: There is an almighty God who made us and everything we see. Their is no excuse for atheism, for it is intentional.
Thus, even the Gentiles are without an excuse for not acknowledging and thanking God. They (or most of them) ignored the plain fact of the existence of an invisible and almighty God. In the pride of their own imagination, they pretended that things they had made were God, rather than vice versa, and claimed to be wise. And their hearts thereby became "dark", just as one's face becomes dark when one turns away from the sun.
It is important, at this point, to spend some time considering what the "wrath of God" really means. God is not human and his wrath is not human anger. He does not get red in the face. He does not have an adrenaline rush and become blindly destructive; he does not hate errant humans. It is wrath based in love.
To understand this apparent contradiction, imagine a parent whose child who is secretly skipping school to take drugs, have sex, and break into houses. The parent would be furious at the child; but it is a fury completely grounded in love. The mother or father would be angry at their child because he was ruining his life, because he was choosing a life full of darkness and misery.