Great Plains Daily Devotional for 11/16/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Lawrence: First UMC
Five Rivers District
Lawrence: First UMC
Five Rivers District
Linwood UMC
Five Rivers District
Louisburg UMC
Five Rivers District

Today's Lectionary Text

Romans 2:1

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.

Romans 2:4b

Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?


Today's Devotional

One of the interesting things I have noted in more recent years is the disappearance of the prayer of confession in our worship services. Those in my own Sunday school class have expressed their discomfort with the prayer of confession in worship and appear somewhat pleased to see it pass as something of an anachronism. Well, until we began talking about it in a class session. Then, we all took a fresh look at it. The issue is how do we repent if we have nothing to confess?
Paul appears to be addressing the Jews and Gentiles in Rome who haven’t received Jesus as their Lord. They were, as we often are, pleased with themselves supposing that by their own good works they could justify themselves. The interesting thing is how in their (our) own self-righteousness they (we) could be so judgmental of others whether family members, neighbors, or associates. For example, I wonder how dinner table talk about “the pastor” or “teachers,” or ”even each other” influences young minds about our Christian faith. Or, how we sometimes talk about our peers in ministry with each other as well as others. Do we know the rest of the story?
Were they (we) not guilty of the same trespasses as those they (we) judged? As William Barclay’s editors put it, “It is terrifying to think how many reputations have been murdered in idle gossip, with people maliciously putting a wrong interpretation upon a completely innocent action.”
Paul asserts that those who have become slaves of the Lord Jesus in faith have put on a new persona by seeing and confessing their (our) own shortcomings and laying them at the feet of the One who not only forgives, but provides the inspiration and motivation to express themselves (ourselves) in new and fruitful ways. Lest we forget, good works are not the means of our justification. They are but the fruit of our new life in the image of our Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus. 
--Rev. John F. Richter, Retired Elder, Great Plains Conference
Resident at Aldersgate Village, Topeka

Prayer for Reflection

Our Father who are 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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


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