Daily Devotion for October 1, 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.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
Romans 2:1-5 (ESV)
Judgment of Others
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man — you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself — that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
Notes on the Scripture
In Romans 1, Paul showed how and why God would hold the Gentiles accountable for their godlessness. In a word, "ignorance of the law is no excuse". In Romans 2, he shifts his attention to those who know the law: the Jews. Verses 1-5 are a transition, because they apply to everyone. There were, in fact, Gentiles versed in God's law — we met several of them in Acts (such as Cornelius). Such Gentiles were as susceptible as Jews to judgmentalism. But the law of Moses, and the tendency to judge others by its standards, was primarily the domain of Judaism.
A moral judgment of another may well be correct; the speck in your neighbor's eye may indeed need to be removed. But knowing what the law is, and having authority to judge others under the law, are very different. Our judgment of another is hypocrisy; how can we condemn someone for breaking a law, when we ourselves do not obey it?
Paul explains the phenomenon of hypocrisy with startling insight. Our righteousness before God is the product of "the riches of his kindness", not our own perfection. And the purpose of God's kindness and forbearance is to lead us to repentance.
We stand as criminals in the dock, who have been found guilty. When the judge has mercy and suspends our sentence, in hope that we will reform, he does not authorize us to climb onto the judge's bench to pass sentence on our fellow defendants.
In practical terms, we might well remember this lesson when we drive a car. If you think you are a perfect driver, you are deluded. But I am willing to bet that you have mentally awarded yourself the role of traffic enforcement. If I ever got a ticket for doing 66 in a 65 zone, I would be incensed! What about all those people doing 75 and 80?
In that regard, I have to share a funny story. Some time ago, USA Today published a poll of people's number one pet peeve about other drivers. Exactly 12% of the respondents said "slow drivers" — and exactly 12% of the respondents said "tailgating"!