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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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Daily Devotion for April 30, 2013

christian murder
The Battle of Lutzen by Carl Wahlbom ca. 1865. Christians murder one another in the devastation of the 30 Years War, the bloodiest of many Protestant-Catholic wars.



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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 of Thanks for God's Creation

O  Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,


A Prayer by Anne Bronte

My God (oh, let me call Thee mine,
Weak, wretched sinner though I be),
My trembling soul would fain be Thine;
My feeble faith still clings to Thee.

Not only for the Past I grieve,
The Future fills me with dismay;
Unless Thou hasten to relieve,
Thy suppliant is a castaway.

I cannot say my faith is strong,
I dare not hope my love is great;
But strength and love to Thee belong;
Oh, do not leave me desolate!

I know I owe my all to Thee;
Oh, TAKE the heart I cannot give!
Do Thou my strength — my Saviour be,
And MAKE me to Thy glory live.



May the God who made me, the God who keeps me, and the God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down His blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep Him in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.


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

endless knot

Proverbs 22:8 (ESV)

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 34: 19 (CEV)

The Versions of the Ten Commandments [3]

Don’t make metal images of gods.

Notes on the Scripture

The second commandment in Exodus 34 is stated very differently than in Exodus 20. It is much shorter, but it greatly clarifies the meaning.

There has been, throughout the history of Christianity, a running disagreement about paintings and statues in churches. The positions can be extreme. Traditional mainline Orthodox and Catholic Christians venerate and pray before statues and paintings of Jesus and various saints, especially the Virgin Mary. An Orthodox church in Russia is usually jam-packed with icons. Stained-glass windows depict scenes in the life of Jesus and the saints.

At the opposite extreme, the radical Protestants who emerged in the Protestant Reformation would not even have a cross in their church. The Amish of today will sometimes not allow their photograph to be taken.

gold Baal from Canaan
Canaanite Baal

But reading the prohibition against graven images in the full context of the Old Testament, one must fairly say that the evil to be avoided is the worship of heathen idols; this becomes clearer when one sees the commandment as it is presented here: "Do not make metal images of gods." The threat to the worship of God was not graven images per se, but the idols and statues that were worshipped as actual gods, in and of themselves.

On the other hand, there is no point in the Bible where putting statues, etc., in a church is required or suggested. No church need have so much as a physical cross in it. An altar is clearly authorized, and also a place set aside especially for worship. But a fair reading of the Bible allows enormous leeway for individual preference in this regard.

In fairness to the Protestant Reformation, Catholic practices in the 15th and 16th century had become unquestionably venal and abusive. Magic powers were ascribed to objects, such as saints' body parts, and access to them sold to superstitious lay people. Today, some churches still permit what could only be called ritual fetishism, which borders perilously close to putting God inside a physical object.

But for real people seeking Christ in the world today, it is a mistake to argue over the second commandment, and prideful to take too rigid a stand as to what is right and wrong about, say, stained glass windows. It only creates a needless barrier between fellow Christians whose fight is against Satan and secular atheism, not each other.

It is all too easy to become angry and obstinate at essentially silly differences in worship practices, especially when the person you disagree with is acting self-righteous and obstinate. Truly blessing, loving, and wishing every benefit to such a person requires the utmost withdrawal from pride and true life in the Spirit. But that is exactly what Christ calls us to do.

Dove of peace

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Today in Daily Prayer

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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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon