Devotional

“I have the right to do anything” ~ but I will not be mastered by anything. — 1 Corinthians 6:12
As our verse for today shows, some people twisted the teaching about freedom in Christ to mean that Christians were free to do anything they pleased. Similarly, some others had reasoned that they should go on sinning so that the grace of God’s forgiveness could increase (Romans 6:1).

No, says Paul. We have died to sin, and our freedom in Christ does not mean that everything we can do is good for ourselves or for others. We must still be wary of committing sin, which offends God and others.
On the matter of building up wealth, Paul would say, it was permissible, but his lifestyle showed that he did not use that right. As Paul describes his situation in 2 Corinthians 6:10, he was “poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” C.S. Lewis points out in his book The Abolition of Man that many people in history have seen the value of forgoing some things that might well be permissible. For example, Lao Tsu, a sixth-century-B.C. Chinese philosopher, said, “To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.”
We might not take a vow of poverty like some monks, using a piece of rope for a belt or living in hollow trees for minimal shelter. But we must be careful that affluence does not master us so that we are free to spread the love of God in Christ, the riches of eternal life in him.
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Lord, open our eyes, that we may be aware of what shackles us. May you alone be our Master—and as we serve you, may we help many grow rich in the love of Jesus. Amen.

Daily Strength For Daily Needs

Am I my brother’s keeper?

~ Gen 4:9

Because I held upon my selfish, road,

And left my brother wounded by the way,

And called ambition duty, and pressed on—

O Lord, I do repent.

—SARAH WILLIAMS.

How many are the sufferers who have fallen amongst misfortunes along the wayside of life! “By chance” we come that way; chance, accident, Providence, has thrown them in our way; we see them from a distance, like the Priest, or we come upon them suddenly, like the Levite; our business, our pleasure, is interrupted by the sight, is troubled by the delay; what are our feelings, what our actions towards them? “Who is thy neighbor?” It is the sufferer, wherever, whoever, whatsoever he be. Wherever thou hearest the cry of distress, wherever thou seest any one brought across thy path by the chances and changes of life (that is, by the Providence of God), whom it is in thy power to help,—he, stranger or enemy though he be,—he is thy neighbor.

—A. P. STANLEY.

Evening Prayer

FOLLOW HIS GUIDANCE 
Proverbs 4:10-15

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You Tonight

I pray that you will listen to the guidance of God our Father. May you accept what He says so that the years of your life will be many. May you follow His wisdom, which will lead you along straight paths. May you hold on to His instruction, and guard it well for it is your life. I pray that you will not falter when you walk nor stumble when you run, and may you never set foot on the path of the wicked. I pray for your prosperity in life as you commit your way to follow His guidance.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Whose Kingdom

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
~ Mark 1:17 
Jesus is asking Peter to stop building his own kingdom and to take up building Christ’s kingdom. Each of us are building a kingdom, even if we are unaware.  Your kingdom may consist of accumulation, pride, and careers, among other things. What would it take for you to stop building your own kingdom? If Jesus asked you to drop your fishing net and follow Him, would you?

Evening Prayer

SPIRITUAL FAMILY 
Romans 12:16; Ephesians 4:32; 5:21; Hebrews 10:25

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You Tonight 

I pray that you will cultivate godly and long-term relationships with members of Christ’s family. May you not be quick to dispose relationships, as is common in this day. I pray that you will not give up meeting with your spiritual family, encouraging one another. May you live in harmony with others in the body of Christ. May you not be proud, but be willing to associate with people from all walks of life. I pray that you will be kind and compassionate to others, forgiving them just as Christ forgave you. Out of reverence for Christ, may you continue to submit to one another.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.