Daily Devotion for January 4, 2012
Eleventh Day of Christmas
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.
The "World's Oldest Living Gospel Quartet"
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe. Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your 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.
but it is swept away through injustice.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
and every tongue shall confess to God." [Isaiah 45:23]
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Notes on the Scripture
Today, we return to out study of Romans, which we interrupted to celebrate Christmas. We left off at Romans 14:9, which addressed issues of the form of worship and how we must be tolerant of the way others choose to honor God.
Today broadens that theme, from judging others' choices about worship to judging others in general. Judging other people is a subject that repeats again and again in the New Testament, and for good reason: it is probably the greatest fault among those who follow Christ. Squabbling among churches about how to worship God, and squabbling among the congregation in a single church, often seems to be the rule rather than the exception. It diverts our attention from the goal of gathering in groups to worship — the very reason for doing it. We defeat our purpose.
And just as bad, like children whose parents fight, those in the parish who are not involved are alienated and often leave; those who are searching for spiritual answers will turn away. Nothing hardens the attitudes of atheists and agnostics like reports of unchristian behavior in a church; it only reinforces their thoughts that "This is not for me" — and who can blame them?
Think of two children having a terrible fight over the television set or a toy or something while their parents are out. When the parents return home, each child expects to be vindicated; but usually, both of them are scolded and possibly punished.
And that is exactly what Paul tells us will happen to squabbling Christians in today's Lesson. We will one day face God, and he will not be impressed that our idea of worship was superior to someone else's. Rather, he will ask us, "why did you judge and dislike your brother over such a meaningless matter?" He will want to know why we were fighting each other about how to worship, instead of worshiping.