Daily Devotion for September 30, 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.
The Mennonite Hour Singers perform, as always, a capella.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through 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.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Make sure, when your friend has done well, to tell him; praise others for their good works, because it costs you nothing and profits them everything.
Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)
The Actions of the Ungodly
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Notes on the Scripture
In yesterday's devotional, we saw that everyone is able to discern God's existence from the miracle of creation. Those who do not, inevitably practice idolatry; filled with blindness and pride, they make idols in their own image and worship them. They set themselves up as the creators of gods, a travesty of the creation of man in God's image. Such idolaters are given over to sin. Sin is not the evil that condemns them, so much as the punishment for their idolatry.
Today, Paul spews out a laundry list of sinfulness that punishes idolaters. Some are general, such as "unrighteousness"; some specific, such as slander and gossip; some are really forms of sinfulness rather than specific acts, such as disobedience to parents or heartlessness. The categories of envy, pride, and self-centeredness seem to be the focus of this list.
The upshot of Romans 1:24-32 is the great condemnation of secular humanism. When man arrogates to himself his own creation, his pride and willful blindness enslave him to the perversion of his natural purpose. He has no point of reference.
The final sentence should be chilling to all of us, living in the culture of contemporary self-reference; it is not simply those who practice such sinfulness who embrace death, but those who "give approval". The godless applaud others acts of godlessness.
Without God, society becomes a suicide pact. To commit murder, one does not have to put the victim's head in the noose; one need only stand quietly at the edge of the lynch mob. Paul's language suggests that general approval of sinful behavior is as depraved as the individual act.
It is not hard to see Paul's point exemplified in today's culture. As idolatry becomes ever more prevalent, general approval of every kind of sinful behavior seems to follow close behind. Governments, media, and shared attitudes ever more encourage us to become "foolish, faithless, heartless, [and] ruthless."