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Daily Devotion for June 17, 2012
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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week takes us to the Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) in Morristown, NJ, for a favorite old hymn.
Prayer for Fathers Day
Blessed are you Lord our God, creator and redeemer of all. You father us from all eternity giving life to creation and pouring your love into all you have made. From the beginning we have known you as "Father", and all our families have their origin in you. Through the love of earthly fathers you give us a glimpse of your everlasting love.
We give thanks and ask blessings upon our earthly fathers this day, for even the worst of them gave us our very lives. Where my father erred, I forgive him and ask that he be forgiven, in the name of Christ. For every act of kindness, for all of the sacrifices my own father might have made without any hope of reward, for the sustenance and protection he gave me in my youth, I remember him now and bless him.
I pray also for the souls of all fathers who have passed on from this life, that they might find forgiveness for their sins and that the love they showed to their children be always remembered, in the name of Christ,
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant me so to die daily to sin, that I may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.
~ John Calvin
Children and Parents
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land."
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
This passage from Ephesians illustrates the differences in attitudes toward the law in the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament's fifth commandment stated simply that one must honor one's mother and father. Relationships between parents and children always have their difficulties (some more than others) but the concept of honoring parents placed a duty upon the children that, no matter how difficult the relationship might become, the son or daughter must always act within certain boundaries of respect and loyalty.
Moreover, the Mosaic law had, as was characteristic of early Judaism, a specific earthly reward for compliance. Parents would determine whether a grown child would be allowed to stay within the household or tribe and, if so, what rights to land they might have at the parents' death. Disfavored children would be cast out, into a very difficult world, to sink or swim, as we see time and time again, even if the disfavor were not their own fault. Remember how Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham's first son, were twice cast out of Abraham's household, although Ishmael did nothing wrong.
The flavor of the commandment changes subtly in Ephesians, where Paul tells children to "obey their parents in the Lord". Christ himself promised to separate children from parents, where children would follow Him although their parents did not. But even a stubbornly heathen parent would be treated with love and respect by a Christian son or daughter, for Christian love extends to unbelievers, and the spirit of the Old Testament commandments were ever present in the minds of Christians, then, as they are today.
Unlike the Old Testament, however, with its "spare the rod and spoil the child" attitude, Christian doctrine places some responsibilities on parents, as well. Here, specifically, to raise children in the discipline and knowledge of Christ, but a Christian father must temper his discipline with his knowledge of Christ and the duty of Christian love and forgiveness.