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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Daily Devotion for May 23, 2013

Your name O Lord endures forever
Illustration by Grace Ellen Schiel.



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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.


A beautiful soft song of praise from Fernando Ortega.

Prayer to Have Inner Peace in the Coming Day

Heavenly God, may I have peace within, this day;
May I trust God that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be confident knowing I am a child of God.
Let this presence settle into my bones, and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. This I pray in Christ's name,


(~ St. Therese of Lisieux)

Prayer for Goodness

For help reading this prayer, see the Aside, below.

Lord, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent,
At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent.

Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.

Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!


From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope


O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,


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

Aside: Reading Pope's Universal Prayer

Because this is not only 300 years old, but poetic, it takes a little thought to fully understand it. But the beauty with which the prayer is written makes it worth the effort.

The first two lines are jumbled. We pray, first, that we will not feel the sin of pride over things that God has lent us. Not only are we not the creators of our beauty, intelligence, etc.; they are not even ours, because we don't own them; they are “lent” to us, and we will lose them when we die (if not sooner).

The second stanza asks that we might learn to be more sympathetic in our feelings for others' problems and also to act on our sympathy, by fighting wrongs even though they are not directed at us. The fourth line is a paraphrase of the well-known phrase, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

In the third stanza, “mean” has the archaic meaning of low in value. The line says that, although we are lowly, we are not absolutely worthless, because we were “quickened” (given life) by God's breath. The final line is straightforward, asking God to lead us at all times, through both life and even when we die.

endless knot

Psalm 135:13-14 (NKJV)

Your name, O Lord, endures forever,
Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations.

For the Lord will judge His people,
And He will have compassion on His servants.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 22:29-31 (ESV)

Not Being Greedy

“Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.

You must give me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.

You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.”

Notes on the Scripture

About Our Study of Exodus

Registered members of Daily Prayer voted last fall to read Exodus in full. We are getting into a part that is fairly tough sledding: Repetitious, filled with minutiae, and very long. In other words, verses that some people will find tedious and uninformative.

So we are going to omit a fair amount of the remainder of Exodus from the main Scripture on the Daily Devotion. However, there will always be a note of what has been skipped and a link to the omitted verses, so that those who want to accomplish reading, literally, every word of Exodus will have done exactly that when we are through.

Today’s Verses

These three laws at the end of Chapter 22 appear unrelated, but they are tied together by the temptation they seek to overcome: Hunger. They are a reminder, something akin to a teacher walking the aisles of a classroom during a test, just to reinforce in everyone's mind that they shouldn't be cheating, that somebody is watching.

We all have a natural tendency to give to God what is left over after we have taken care of our own wants and needs. Like many sins, it is an easy frame of mind to slip into. And it is precisely what the first verse is intended to remind us not to do. Our offering to God comes first. As we have just read recently, one of the ten commandments as stated in Exodus 34 is that we are expected to send the “first fruits” of our harvest to God, as a sacrifice.

Since the Hebrews gave in kind, rather than in cash, the second verse reiterates the law about animal sacrifice. The first born of every female animal, including human beings, belongs to God. Of course, children and even draft animals were not killed. A lamb or goat would be sacrificed instead — their “redemption” — and male children would also be circumcised. To prevent carelessness from gradually diminishing the correct practice, this verse creates a specific date for the sacrifice to be made.

Finally, the Hebrews were strictly forbidden to eat “road kill”. So anyone who has been picking up possum and raccoon carcasses to take home for supper — stop it!

Faith, Hope and Charity
Faith, Hope and Charity by James C. Christensen, contemporary.

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