Scripture:
Romans 12:14, 17-18
Fri, 5 May 2023

Loving Others Outside the Church Together (1)

Observation:

According to verses 14, 17 and 18, what would a church that is acting in love together look like?

Deeper Reflection
Genuine love moves us to love unbelievers, even those who treat us badly and we consider our enemies. In verses 14 and 17 to 21, Paul instructs Christians using four sets of “do not…but instead…” exhortations. We consider the first two exhortations today and the remaining two tomorrow.First, do not curse our persecutors, but instead bless them (v.14). To curse our persecutors is to invoke on them divine punishments, even disasters. Since God is ultimately the Giver of all blessings, a major way for Christians to bless our persecutors is to pray for God’s mercy and grace upon them. Blessing our persecutors is a powerful demonstration of genuine love which shuns evil and clings to what is good (Rom 12:9), and it clearly manifests the renewed way of thinking which characterises believers (Rom 12:2).19Second, do not repay evil for evil (v.17), but instead live peaceably with all (v.18). The world views retaliation against adversaries as natural and justified, but Paul echoes here20 our Lord Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies (Matt 5:38-48). Christians are not only to be peacekeepers (Mk 9:50), but also peacemakers (Matt 5:9).21 Notably, Paul includes two qualifications — “If possible” suggests that peace with enemies cannot always be achieved;22 and “so far as it depends on you” implies that another party can, in fact, disrupt the peace.23 The Christian, however,must never be that party responsible for causing disharmony.24When the church refrains from cursing or retaliating against her enemies, but blesses them and, as far as possible, lives peaceably with all, we are acting together in love towards those outside the church.
19 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 780. 20 Paul also teaches against retaliation in 1 Thessalonians 5:15; and so does Peter (1 Pet 3:9). 21 James R. Edwards, Romans, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 298. 22 For example, one cannot compromise the Gospel to keep peace: Pate, 251 23 William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, vol. 12-13, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 420-421. 24 John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 490.
Application:

Who do I consider my enemies, and in what ways do I need to learn to bless
them and live peaceably with them?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for SGI leaders: To serve effectively as peacekeepers and peacemakers in their CGs, and to mentor others to do the same
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self
 

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Daily Devo
Daily Devotional Journal
Scripture:
Daniel 6:1-10
Wed, 7 June 2023

Consistent Daily Devotion to God

Observation:

What does verse 10 tell us about Daniel?

Deeper Reflection
For Daniel’s distinguishing competency and character, and commitment to ensuring that the king suffered no loss in his empire, Darius “planned to appoint” him “over the entire kingdom” (v.3). But out of jealousy, Daniel’s fellow-commissioners and the satraps attempted to accuse him of “negligence or corruption” in “government affairs” (v.4a). They could find nothing, because Daniel was “faithful” (v.4b). So, they planned to make accusation against him “with regard to the law of his God” (v.5). And they maliciously instigated Darius to establish a law that “anyone who makes a petition to any god or man” besides the king “for thirty days, shall be cast into the lion’s den” (vv.6-9).Then, “when Daniel knew that the document was signed…he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (v.10). This was Daniel’s spiritual discipline with a structure of regular “three times a day”. He kept it daily. We can say that Daniel never missed his quiet time. The most important words in the verse may be “when Daniel knew that the document was signed”. They indicate the context of Daniel’s spiritual discipline: A discipleship challenge where his life was at stake. Daniel’s spiritual discipline was no mere religious ritual and routine. He could have skipped his quiet time “for thirty days” and be safe. He didn’t. Daniel’s spiritual discipline manifested his consistent daily devotion to “his God”: “he continued…three times a day…as he had been doing previously.” At the heart of this spiritual discipline was Daniel’s relationship and fellowship with “his God”.
Application:

How can I cultivate a consistent daily devotion to God?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for leaders
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for the Generations: That young people will seek to be devoted to God consistently
  • Pray for self
 

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