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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for June 27, 2013

<i>And the Great Dragon Was Cast Down</i>, Myrtice West ca. 1985.
And the Great Dragon Was Cast Down, Myrtice West ca. 1985. Myrtice West was a prominent self-taught artist in Alabama. This example of her work depicts Revelation 20:9, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”



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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

I  call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.

I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.

I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.

I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.


A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.



Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.


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

The Resurrection of Christ, Mikael Nesterov (Russian), c. 1917
The Resurrection of Christ, Mikael Nesterov (Russian), c. 1917

The Mysterious Need

The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.’ A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

~ C. S. Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Death Where Is Thy Sting?

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; the perishable does not inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery!

We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Notes on the Scripture

It may seem odd that 1 Corinthians 15 is the Bible chapter most often quoted on signs in Church nurseries, until you realize that they use a slightly different translation: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”

The serious meaning of the verse is that the Day of Judgment will occur while humanity continues to exist. Surely, we recognize, that if the universe simply continued on its way without God's direct interference, there would come a point where all human life would necessarily end. If time is infinite, it does not matter how small the chance of annihilation might be: it has to occur.

Jesus told us that we do not know when the Day will come. In fact, not even He knew the time: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) But we do know, from what Paul tells us here, that there will be people alive when it happens.

This is one of the core beliefs of Christianity. Some Christians — who knows how many, but maybe most of us from time to time — wonder if it is all true. Mother Theresa herself had darker moments where her faith entered periods of doubt. Can we have doubts from time to time and still be saved? I think the answer has to be, yes.

We might surely lose our salvation by denying Christ or by cursing God, if our denial comes from the core of our being. But there is a black-and-white difference between having a period of doubt or confusion, and a decision to curse God. Peter denied Christ three times, and Thomas doubted Him after the resurrection.

There is a limit, however; for James tells us,

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)

So, let us put our doubts aside; it is worth the effort. Because we can be confident; Christ told us the truth and He proved it to us, by rising from the dead.

If the truth seems too good to be true, because it is so wonderful, that is the nature of God's love for us. Whatever struggles we have while living in our bodies — and they can be difficult or even terrible — we have God's assurance that they are temporary. We will be raised from our perishable and pain-ridden state into a perfect and imperishable heaven, to live forever in the glow of God's perfect love.

endless knot

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Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

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