Daily Devotion for November 29, 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,
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are you for giving us family and friends to be with us in times of joy and sorrow, to help us in days of need, and to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Father, I praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends, And in the love of Your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns 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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Where You Are Going
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
~ Dr. Seuss
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.* * *
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." [Proverbs 25:21-22]
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Notes on the Scripture
One of the many confusing issues in Christian life is, "Who shall I forgive"? We feel that we must repent and ask God for his forgiveness, and then we pray "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", so should we forgive others only when they say that they are sorry? When they promise not to do it again? Certainly, this makes sense. What good is it to forgive someone who is just going to do it again?
Or does our obligation of forgiveness extend to those who profess Christ? This also makes sense. We are, after all, supposed to treat fellow Christians as brothers and sisters, and we know that they are trying, as we are, to live good lives.
But the answer to the question "Who shall I forgive" is much harder, for the answer is "everyone". Jesus said it. Here, Paul repeats it and elaborates upon it. There is no room for doubt in such a plain statement: "Bless those who persecute you."
Is this the hardest lesson in the Bible? Possibly. It is the ultimate acceptance of Romans 12:1, "present your bodies as a living sacrifice." It is so difficult to follow that very few churches will even preach it, for fear that the congregation will say "that's ridiculous" and leave.
But this is exactly what Paul, and Peter, and Jesus himself did. For most of us, it is a goal that we must strive towards, and it becomes extraordinarily hard when heinous crimes are involved. You will find Christian teachers finding a thousand excuses why this does not apply, for example, to foreign Muslims who hijack aircraft and fly them into buildings.
But that is exactly what Christ calls upon us to do: not to be overcome by evil — in this case, not to let the most evil of actions separate us from Christ — but, instead, to overcome evil with good. Hatred and the desire for vengeance can be an overwhelming emotion. But when we experience it, we must pray that the object of our hatred be blessed; for this is Christ's command to us.