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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Daily Devotion for July 23, 2014

<i>Crucifixion (detail)</i>, glass mosaic by Mia Tavonatti, ca. 2011.
Crucifixion (detail), glass mosaic by Mia Tavonatti, ca. 2011.



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Lord's Prayer

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

You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?

Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.

But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.


For All Who Misuse the Gift of Sex

Heavenly Father, I pray for your guidance to all people who have fallen into the pit of sexual immorality, especially those who earn money from, or openly abuse, the gift of sex you have given us: Adulterers; prostitutes and those who go to them; active homosexuals, pederasts, and all drawn to abnormal expression of your gift; pornographers and their audience; those who are given to fornication; those who seek to lust; and all those who teach that morality is illusory, make excuses, and encourage others to misuse their sexual nature.

Help them, and all of us, to admit and confess our sin, and to seek to amend our lives, that we might find the full measure of your love and your eternal joy. Where I have misused my sexual nature, send your Holy Spirit to me, so that I might fight the temptation to lustful conduct every day; and I pray that all who desire it, may find satisfaction of their needs within a happy and Godly marriage.

In Christ’s name I pray,



[Lead me to seek out my own sins.]

For Faith

Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my mind. Give me a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity, so that I may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

endless knot

Psalm 41:1-2 (NKJV)

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,
And he will be blessed on the earth;
You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

Blue Latin Cross

Romans 11:7-10 (ESV)

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.” (Deuteronomy 29:4, Isaiah 29:10)

And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” [Psalm 69:22-23]

Notes on the Scripture

Everyone knows the difference between following the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law”. We see a lot of examples, under such terms as “bending the rules”, “creative accounting”, “playing games”, “finding loopholes” — the list is a long one. Here is one of a million possible examples: In 2005, WalMart wanted to build a 100,000 square-foot store in Dunkirk, Maryland. But the local laws restricted the size of stores to a maximum of 75,000 square feet. So WalMart decided to build two stores adjoining one another, each of them less than 75,000 feet. (They abandoned the plan due to public outrage.)

This dichotomy, between someone who seeks to follow the spirit of a law, and someone who seeks to bend the spirit of the law while complying with the letter of the law, is how Paul characterizes the Jews who were deaf to Christ's message. (In fact, it is where the expression “spirit of the law” originates.) The Pharisees insisted on following the letter of Mosaic law; but as David put it, the law had become a stumbling block for them, rather than a road to God.

Christ himself pointed out the foolishness of trying to become righteous by rote obedience to the law. Most notably, he infuriated the Jewish authorities by healing the sick on the Sabbath. The letter of the law — the fourth commandment — prohibits working on the Sabbath. But Jesus showed them that the true path to God lay in the spirit of the law, and the spirit of the law would require one to help his fellow man or woman, even on the Sabbath:

Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” [Luke 6:9]

So the Jews who lived in the spirit were able to accept the good news of Christ; but others — those with “eyes that would not see, and ears that would not hear” — were empty of the spirit. They could see only the law itself; and so they were lost.

God wants more than our formal compliance with an established ritual. Not that there is anything wrong with ritual worship, which can be very meaningful and helpful: but only if our heart is in it. For it is our heart that He wants. First and foremost, Christ wants faith and love. For if our hearts are with Christ, our actions will follow.

Jesus heals the man born blind

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“The Power of God”

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Update — July 12, 2014

We hope we have fixed a small problem that has been bugging us for a long time: how to center both the top picture and the headling (Daily Devotion for . . .) across a wide variety of screen sizes and platforms. We have also added a subtle grey line to separate the advertising column from the content, which we hope will make the page just a tiny bit more attractive, and the ads a tiny bit less distracting.

Update — July 4, 2014

If you look at Page Two, you will notice that we have begun to transition from informational or editorial comment to a more inspirational message. The name of the link has been changed to “Daily Inspiration”. It's hard to tell how long it will take us to put this into a different format and, eventually, an email; but it will take a while, at least several months. This will be a Monday-Friday deal, probably.

By Mason Barge