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Daily Devotion for September 20, 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.
A sweet blessing on all of us, from the great Soweto Gospel Choir.
Prayer for the Morning
Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.
Prayer for Help with Our Troubles
O God, my help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the supplications of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner. Have mercy upon me; deliver me from all the troubles and tribulations of life. Deal not with me after my sins, I pray, but according to your measureless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness.
Grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
May God Almighty send me his light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may His mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
Proverbs 16:21 (Good News V.)
The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.
You have forgotten the exhortation, addressed to you as God's children:
'My child, do not regard the Lord's discipline lightly, or lose heart when you are punished; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.'
Endure life's trials for the sake of discipline. God treats you as his child; for what child does a loving father not discipline?
It always seems painful rather than pleasant; but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, lift your drooping hands, and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not become crippled, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Job 5:17-20 (ASV)
So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For He inflicts pain, and gives relief;
He wounds, and His hands also heal.
From six troubles He will deliver you,
Even in seven, evil will not touch you.
In famine He will redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
Notes on the Scripture
One thing that characterizes a responsible adult is the willingness and confidence to discipline others in his charge. Another is the ability to accept discipline. We see the opposite every day; in fact, our human instinct is to deny we have done anything wrong and evade responsibility and punishment.
But accepting responsibility, understanding that our own actions can be wrong, and even realizing that the discipline we receive might make us better, is part of what many people call "character". To accept discipline requires humility. We have to accept, first off, that we are not perfect, that what we do and say and think is not necessarily correct just because it is we who have done or said or thought it.
Even worse, we attach ourselves to public figures or causes or groups, and then rationalize their conduct, as fiercely as we might rationalize our own if we had no character at all. The media circus will crank up every few months with the latest scandal; a recent example is Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, and a number of officials at Penn State University.
But the media simply do not grasp one aspect of these cases. They never seem concerned with the harm that people who have committed a hidden wrong have done to themselves.
What harm was done to, say, a person like Jerry Sandusky by evading the proper discipline for his action? What could Roman Polanski, who has successfully evaded punishment for statutory rape of a 13-year-old for decades, what could his relationship with God be like? Discipline is an act of love; humiliating to be punished by another and painful by definition, but still, often the only way to truly change the heart of someone gone astray.
"It is always painful rather than pleasant; but later, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." We are fortunate that God loves us enough to punish us for our sins while we are alive on earth. It is one of the ways by which He "delivers us from evil."