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Daily Devotion for January 5, 2012
Twelfth Day of Christmas
Feast of the Epiphany
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.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
~ C. S. Lewis
Personal Habits and Faith
Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.
Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith.
For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Notes on the Scripture
Our faith in Christ is more important than what we eat. If we have a friend with peculiar dietary ideas, and those ideas come from his faith, we should not belittle him; we should eat as he does when we are with him.
This issue isn't the magnitude today that it was when Paul wrote Romans. Many or most early Christians were raised as devout Jews, and the issue of what food one could eat was a major problem for many people and a source of friction between Christians.
But we do run into it on rare occasion. For example, we encounter recovering alcoholics and people who do not drink for religious reasons. So, in that regard, Paul's admonition would be, "Do not, for the sake of alcohol, destroy the work of God." One might also conclude that if you find yourself eating with a Christian vegetarian, no matter how silly you think it is, you would do well to give up eating meat for a meal. If eating a pork chop or having a cocktail is more important to us than a friend's faith, it is an opportunity for self-examination.
The point here is not that you agree that abstaining from alcohol, or meat, or whatever, is necessary to be a Christian. What you eat and drink is between you and God; but in such matters, Paul tells us to keep our opinions to ourselves. Our duty is to help our brother, to make sure we do not cause him to stumble.
As for what we ourselves eat and drink when we are alone, we are "blessed indeed" if we do not judge ourselves for what we eat. This is an odd notion, that we should "eat from faith", but it is worth thinking about. Although they do not see it as a faith issue, many people eat and drink things that they judge themselves for, usually eating unhealthy food, too much food, or too much alcohol.
In this regard, if you have problems with eating or drinking, remember that Christ was not born to make us feel guilty, but to forgive us for our sins through His grace and, by faith, to help us avoid sin. The last thing a person with eating or drinking problems needs is yet another reason to feel guilty. If we work on our faith, it will lift us in every aspect of our life. As C.S. Lewis said, "aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in".