Daily Devotion for October 12, 2021
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.
Do you have unanswered prayers? So does J.J. Heller.
He's the kid with the story
No one would believe,
He prays every night:
"Dear God won't you please
Could you send someone here
Who will love me?"
Who will love me for me.
Not for what I have done
Or what I will become,
Who will love me for me.
'Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means.
Her office is shrinking a little each day,
She's the woman whose husband has run away.
She'll go to the gym after working today -
Maybe if she was thinner,
Then he would've stayed.
And she says...
He's waiting to die as he sits all alone.
He's a man in a cell who regrets what he's done.
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul,
"Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home."
Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside,
And it said,
"I know you've murdered and I know you've lied
And I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you'll listen I'll, I'll tell you that I..."
I will love you for you
Not for what you have done
Or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew.
Music and Lyrics by JJ and Dave Heller.
Thanks and Praise
I thank You for the temporal blessings of this world — the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers’ sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, and friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over.
Do not allow me to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings; Your power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of our Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell’s artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!
To Live in Sympathy with Others
Blessed Lord Jesus, who wept with Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died, may I ever take your love and sympathy for humanity into my heart. As Paul prayed in Romans, “May I rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Soften my heart towards all, heavenly Lord, my enemies and my friends, my family and those who offend me. May I see the humanity of all my fellow men, rather than their sinfulness, and replace the fist of criticism with the opens arms of Christian love. By your grace, Lord Christ, I dare to ask your help in overcoming my hard heart,
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
~ Max Lucado
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, 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.
We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.
~ Francis Chan
Matthew 5:20-26 (ESV)
Sermon on the Mount - Obtaining Righteousness
“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Notes on the Scripture
e have included the last sentence from yesterday’s Scripture, because Jesus’ speech about fulfillment of the law introduces a long section of topical lessons on specific types of sin. He has promised that the righteousness of the listeners would have to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees — in short, that the extensive Mosaic law does not go far enough.
The Greeks invented a term, dramatic irony, which means, basically, that a person watching a drama knows something that the characters on the stage do not. It is the staple of horror movies; someone walks carefully down a hall to open a door. The audience knows that there is a zombie on the other side and screams “Don’t open it!” But the character does not know.
Or, if you have ever read Romeo and Juliet, Juliet takes a potion that makes her appear dead; but she isn’t really dead and will awaken in an hour. The audience knows this, but Romeo does not: dramatic irony. And as the audience watches in horror, Romeo takes his own life, believing Juliet to be dead and not wanting to live without her.
Dramatic irony in Matthew 5:20 impedes our appreciation of it. We know that Christ will die in satisfaction for our sin, i.e., our inability to comply with the laws of God. So when we read “your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees”, or “whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments . . . will be called least in the kingdom of heaven”, it does not affect us strongly.
We realize something that the Hebrews listening to Jesus did not: their inability to comply with this impossible standard will be forgiven.
But we profit more from reading the passage without dramatic irony. Forget, for a minute, everything you know about Christ. Pretend you are a Jew, seeking God in good faith, keeping the law. And with this state of mind, read Matthew 5:17-20; once you have that down solid, read some of the rest of Matthew 5.
The capper is the last sentence in the chapter: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Christ’s words are profoundly frightening. Who can live without becoming angry? Am I going to have to put out my eye and cut off my hand? He is, essentially, telling the audience that they are going to burn in hell for eternity.
Jesus meant for us to know this fear; He meant for us to feel this fear; He meant for us to appreciate that, unless we are reborn in the Spirit, our suffering is going to get even worse when we die. Fear of God, says Proverbs 1, is the beginning of wisdom. We cannot fully appreciate Christ, and what He did for us, unless we know our terrible destiny without Him.