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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for February 27, 2013

<i>Angelus</i> by Jean-François Millet
Angelus by Jean-François Millet, ca. 1859



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lessons and scripture

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.


This sweet Christian song was a surprising pop hit for Kris Kristofferson in 1973, and became the best-selling song of his career.

Prayer for the Morning

Heavenly Father, I do not fear this day, for you are with me wherever I might go, your light to shine ahead, your footsteps to lead the way. I do not fear this day, for your word will be my guide. Your strength will sustain me and your love revive me, this day and all days. I do not fear this day, for you are with me. In the name of Christ, I call upon you.


Lenten Prayer for Humility

Oh heavenly Lord, let me enter the city with your son today; let me sing of glory to my King, your son, the very Son of God, riding on a donkey, keeping company with shepherds and prostitutes, with the blind and the leper, with the abandoned and oppressed. Let me be filled with joy at Christ's coming and follow the One who welcomes the sinner and dines with the outcast. Let me touch and see as God draws near, riding in triumph towards the Cross.


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 with me not 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.


Benediction (from Colossians 3)

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


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

endless knot

Fear of Others

“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little.”

~ William Gurnall

Blue Latin Cross

John 5:41-47


"I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"

John the Evangelist at Patmos by Velazquez
John the Evangelist
Diego Velazquez
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Notes on the Scripture

"Glory" is not a word used as much as it once was, because it signifies a kind of praise and honor (or worthiness of such praise) not so common in our cynical modern world. It means a distinctly high type of praise, so high that we want to bow down in reverence.

Christ here asks the question, how can we believe in him if we seek glory from others but do not seek the glory that comes only from God? This is vital: belief in Christ is the key to His grace (as He tells us in the preceding verses). So if seeking the glory from men, rather than the glory of God, means we do not truly believe in Christ, we have not come to live within His grace.

Imagine a perfect person, someone who has never done anything wrong. Would such a person not deserve our highest admiration? Of course he would. (And unfortunately, many hypocrites pretend to be sinless just in order to earn the praise of others). But the Bible teaches us that nobody is without sin. Only through Christ's grace can our sins be forgiven, and only thus might we truly find glory ourselves.

Which leads to a dilemma: One of the prime attributes of belief in Christ is seeking after a deep humility, which poses a dilemma. We cannot advertise our "goodness"; we cannot actively seek the praise of men, if we want the true glory that can come only from God.

So Christ says, "if someone comes in his own name, you accept him; how can you believe (if) you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes only from God?" He does not say that we cannot accept glory from others, or give them glory "in their own name", but He comes awfully close to it. This is especially true when we consider this passage with other of Christ's teachings, e.g. "the meek shall inherit the earth".

The knowledge that both glory and judgment come from God tempers our view of other people. It tempers our praise, because no matter how great their accomplishments, they cannot know true glory by their deeds. But it also tempers our hatred; for nobody but Christ has authority to judge our lives or the lives of others, and it is our Christian duty to temper our revulsion and find forgiveness and love for others. They are God's beautiful and beloved children, no matter how much we dislike them.

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 5:38: You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your shirt, let him have your cloak as well.

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