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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Daily Devotion for April 24, 2013

Fall of the Angels
Fall of the Rebel Angels (detail), Pieter Brueghel the Elder ca. 1562



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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.


Prayer for the Morning (Jane Austen)

Compassionate Lord, Your mercies have brought me to the dawn of another day. Vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace, increase in knowledge; ripen for spiritual harvest. Let me this day know You as You are, love You supremely, serve You completely, admire You fully.

Through grace let my will respond to You, knowing that power to obey is not in me, but that Your free love alone enables me to serve You. Here then is my empty heart, overflow it with Your choice gifts; here is my blind understanding, chase away its mists of ignorance.


Prayer of Penitence

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.



Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done 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.

Forgiveness of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt van Rijn
Forgiveness of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1669

Job 5:17-20 (ASV)

Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
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.

Blue Latin Cross

Hebrews 12:5-7,11-14

Life's Hardships

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.

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. Perhaps the most prominent public case in our lives was Roman Polanski, a movie director who raped a 13-year old girl 30 years ago and fled the country to escape a prison sentence. He has since been living in European countries that refuse to extradite him. But when he was finally arrested in Switzerland, many journalists and people in the entertainment industry loudly protested his extradition!

The damage to the child happened long ago. But what of the damage to Polanski himself? Is he really better off having escaped his rightful punishment for this crime? Is society better off?

Dodging responsibility has become a profession — literally. Every politician has his spin doctor, every celebrity a Public Relations consultant (not to mention some criminal defense attorneys). People have a right to have their side of a story told, to make sure the facts in their favor are told; but they go far beyond that. It's nothing new, of course. But if "the Lord disciplines those he loves," these people need a lot of love.

The best thing that can happen to someone who has done something wrong is to be held accountable, and have a chance to learn from their correction. For God will hold us all accountable; the day will come when no secret will be hid. Forgiveness is the cardinal virtue of Christianity; but forgiveness does not necessarily require the absence of discipline. The hardest lessons are often the ones that change lives.

Accepting responsibility is another matter. Who has not heard the line, "every person in here is innocent", in a prison movie? People defend their righteousness fiercely; some die rather than admit their wrongdoing.

It is best to take this very hard truth to heart, as early as possible: evil lives within us, each and every one. Do we have a mean streak that we hide from ourselves, perhaps disguising it as humor or rightful indignation? Do we rationalize our greed? Have we cheated on our taxes for so long that we don't even question it?

We have no control over the lying politician or out-of-control movie star. Judgment is mine, sayeth the Lord. But we have control over our own lives. Every person on earth has some painful truth that he does not want to face about himself. It is our job to find out and face the truth about our own faults, because only then can we truly repent and find the beauty of Christ's forgiveness.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

Proverbs 20:3: It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, since any fool can start a quarrel.

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