Daily Devotion Wednesday, September 25

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 – Psalm 64; 2 Kings 6:1-23; 1 Corinthians 5:9-6:11 and Matthew 5:38-48

Matthew 5:38-48 – 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, is one of the more difficult sayings of Jesus. When I think about this saying, I find it hard to think of any I would call my enemy. Yet, I know many pastors who have people in the congregation who persecute them and say awful things about them. There are many unhealthy congregations with unhealthy members within them. Thank you, the members and friends of Community Presbyterian Church, for your support and encouragement you give me as your pastor.

Yet, when I do go on and think about praying for my enemies, I do think about terrorists who even now are plotting evil against the United States of America. I think of fundamentalists of other religions who preach hate and turn their people against others. Jesus is calling me to pray for all these and more. And I don’t think Jesus is saying pray for their destruction, but praying that their lives can be changed and they can hear and believe Jesus’ message of love and new life.

The reading from the Old Testament, 2 Kings 6:1-23, is about a time when the prophet Elisha’s life was threatened by the King of Aram, yet Elisha doesn’t have him or his soldiers killed. He prays that God show them his power and that this help them return to Aram and leave him and God’s people alone. This is one of the few times I remember in the Old Testament where blood is not shed. And Jesus said; “pray for those who persecute you.” Nice how this is the Old Testament reading for today.

Friends, let us hear Jesus’ words calling us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (threaten us in any way).

O God, even today there are leaders and their followers planning evil against others. May you raise up leaders with new hearts and changed lives who can then lead people who plan destruction to turn from evil and turn to you. You’ve worked miracles in the past, I think of Saul a persecutor of the church, who then became Paul one who wrote the majority of the New Testament. An enemy, turned from evil to new life. May this happen even this day.

I also pray for colleagues in ministry who face persecution within the church you have placed them. May the leaders of presbyteries, governing bodies, committee on ministry and others help bring healing and wholeness to these troubled situations. Bless my colleagues this day and I do pray for those who persecute them. May your healing presence be in these churches. Amen.

Psalm 64 – 10 Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him.
Let all the upright in heart glory.

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