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Daily Devotion for December 3, 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.
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Romans 13:8-10 (ESV)
Fulfilling the Law Through Love
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul echoes the words of Christ here: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
The love Paul speaks about is not an emotion, but rather, a way of acting towards other people. Paul does not expect that we are going to be filled with adolescent adoration of the very faulty, and sometimes downright nasty, people in the world. Rather, he commands us to return to others a debt that we have incurred, an obligation that we owe, in return for God's grace.
Indeed, it is a debt that cannot be repaid fully, because God's love for us is endless and limitless. We must treat others with the goodness that reflects God's perfection. This includes the difficult task of being kind to those who are not nice to us, or whom we dislike.
There is another aspect to this, especially in light of verses 1-7, which instruct us to obey the civil authorities. Paul did not want the Christians of Rome to become entangled unnecessarily in petty interpersonal disputes, or in matters of politics and Roman social life, for several reasons. First, he wants them to remember that they (as we) have more important matters to attend to. Second, he wants Christians to be inoffensive, so that their message of salvation to the world might not be diminished by a listeners' poor opinion of them, stemming from some worldly disagreement.