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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Devotion for June 29, 2013

<i>Elohim Creating Adam</i> by Wm. Blake, ca. 1805
Elohim Creating Adam by Wm. Blake, ca. 1805. This complex watercolor shows distress on God’s face at the knowledge of the pain Adam will suffer; the serpent is shown already coiling about Adam’s leg.



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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 (written by Metropolitan Philaret)

Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.

Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.


For the Needy

Dear Lord above, never let me forget about those who are hurting from guilt, shame and other afflictions I may not know about. Show me that I need to remember those who are: sick, imprisoned, lonely, confused, in need of a friend, dying, hungry, spiritually lost in their lives — wandering aimlessly through life. Teach me to comfort my brothers and sisters in their hours of need, wherever they may be. Guide me to look deeply into their hearts and understand.

Teach me to reach out my hands and help them up and feed their souls and hearts with your word, O Lord. Let me never forsake one of my hurting brothers or sisters along life's way. Grant me the strength to carry forth your will and your way in bringing all to you, dear Father. I pray this needful prayer through your blessed Son, Jesus Christ.


Prayer of Thanks for This Life

O  God in heaven, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now your love has illumined my path and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give you thanks for every step of my life's journey, together with all who have come to know you, who call upon your name. All glory be to you, O God, from age to age,



If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.


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

Candlelight worship in an Indonesian stadium.
Candlelight worship in an Indonesian stadium.

Why Worship?

In worship, God imparts himself to us.

~ C.S.Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

Joshua 24:1-2a,14-25

Joshua Renews the First Covenant

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people,

“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel:

Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord; for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.”

Notes on the Scripture

Many people believe, in their hearts, some deep concept that God has especially blessed those who worship Him and keep His holy commandments, and that this benefit extends to nations. This is certainly true in the United States, which was colonized by Englishmen looking for a place they might live their beliefs.

It is constantly tempting to wonder if God does not yet enforce something akin to the First Covenant, with the Gentiles. As Christians, our lives look to a reward after death; Christ certainly did not promise tangible rewards on earth, as did the Old Testament prophets. In fact, He warned that some of His followers might be called upon to suffer in His name, and many did. But nevertheless, people often see a correlation between the sincerity of Christian practice and national success.

Theologians call this theory “Common Grace”:

“Those general operations of the Holy Spirit whereby He exercises such a moral influence on man through His general or special revelation, that sin is restrained, order is maintained in social life, and civil righteousness is promoted.” (~ Louis Berkhof)

Today, there is a lot of tension between the nation and the Christian ideals that lay beneath its rise to greatness, on the other. The growing secularism, centering as it does on the worship of the self and reliance upon an enforced godless state, have come to dominate the national sense of ethics; and this seems to coincide with a decline in national economic and diplomatic prominence.

Who knows God's intention in this regard? One thing about it, though: We will be able to see the opposite side of the coin over time, as Christianity is growing in other, less developed societies.

Nigeria, for example, is home to one of the strongest areas of Christian growth in the world. It is the largest country in Africa and the seventh largest country in the world. Although it has a majority Muslim population, it is one of the few places on earth where Christianity seems to be growing in popularity, cheek-by-jowl against entrenched and enimical Islamic power structure.

There is also strong Christian growth in the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia. Despite a fair degree of suppression, and sporadic violence, evangelical Christians have expanded from 3% to 7% of the population since the 1980s; and the Roman Catholic population has held steady at 3%. Christianity is growing; in absolute terms, from 12 million to over 25 million.

It is a situation worth following. There are great complexities in both nations, especially given the large variety of tribes and languages, and people's identification with them. But it will be interesting to see if the spread of Christianity continues and what effect it has upon the earthly lives of large groups of adherents. Will Christian areas show greater success in battling AIDS, malaria, poverty, and political chaos? And if so, is it due to God's blessings on Christ's followers, or a more prosaic side-effect of Christian organization or morals?

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

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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