Daily Devotion for December 4, 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.
This traditional hymn is done by Emmylou Harris and -- of all people -- Robert Duval.
Prayer for the Morning
May all I do today begin with you, O Lord. Plant dreams and hopes within my soul and revive my tired spirit: be with me today. Be at my side and walk with me; be my support, that your hand may be seen in every action I take, that your goodness may be in every word I speak, and that your spirit may inhabit my every thought. Make my thoughts, my work, and my very life blessings for your kingdom. In Christ's name I pray,
Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away
Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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.
But to the righteous, good shall be repaid.
Cast Off the Works of Darkness
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand.
So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul felt an enormous sense of excitement, because a new era had dawned in the history of the world. Christ had risen like the sun, bringing with him the light of salvation. Paul no doubt was thinking of Isaiah's prophecy, "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you." (Isaiah 60:2)
Imagine what it was like living before Christ. Other than a handful of people in a small and unimportant country between Egypt and Syria, human morality was shrouded in darkness. There was no regard for human life. Almost nobody thought murder, rape, or slavery were wrong. People lived at the whim of whatever person or group had killed its enemies and taken most of the property. Gods were clay figures made in the image of men.
But now, Paul tells the Romans, the light has shined on all humanity, Jew and Gentile alike. The activities he mentions were those particularly prevalent in Rome at the time; we still say "a Roman orgy". The Romans saw nothing wrong with their sins; they lived in darkness.
Unfortunately, the activities did not stop with the resurrection of Christ; much of the world hides from the light, denies its existence, hates and accuses those who point to it. The temptation to join them is strong and constant, both from within and from without. Paul tells the Romans to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" as if He is a shining robe or suit of armor that will keep the darkness at bay.
We must always keep in mind that, first, we must tend to our own salvation; otherwise, we will end up assisting the dark world in its error. We must "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" every morning and awaken the Holy Spirit within us; for when we do, we are each a candle, from which Christ's light may shine in a world dark with sin.