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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Daily Devotion for July 3, 2013

Design for stained glass in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, by Alphonse Mucha, ca. 1930
Design for stained glass in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, by Alphonse Mucha, ca. 1930. Mucha, a master of Art Nouveau, depicts Cyril and Methodius, missionaries to the Slavs in the 9th century, baptizing a convert.



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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.


Celtic Prayer for the Morning

I  will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven; Without malice, without jealousy, without envy, without fear; without terror of any one under the sun, but the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle thou in my heart within a flame of love to my neighbour, to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all; To the brave, to the coward, to the man in the street, O Son of the loveliest Mary, from the lowliest thing that lives to the Name that is highest of all. In the name of Christ, I pray.


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.



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.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

The full panel of the stained glass window made from the top photo (Alphonse Mucha, St. Vitus Cathedral ca. 1931). At the bottom are King Wenceslas as a youth, and his mother.

Bright Future

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.

~ Helen Keller

Blue Latin Cross

Psalm 112

The Upright Will Be Blessed

Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears Lord,
who delights greatly in his commandments.

His seed will be mighty upon earth:
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches will be in his house:
and his righteousness endures for ever.

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness:
he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

A good man is kind and generous with those in need:
he will guide his affairs with discretion.

For he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be remembered forever.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is buoyed up, he will not fear,
and will finally look with satisfaction on his adversaries.

He has given freely to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His name will be exalted in honor.

The wicked will see it and be vexed.
They will grimace and melt away;
The desires of the wicked will perish.

Notes on the Scripture

Those who have read the New Testament closely will understand how the law of Moses applies to Christians. For those who are at an earlier stage of study, here is one quick way to summarize it in modern legal terms: Christians are no longer obligated to follow the letter of the law, but they are obligated to look to it and to follow the spirit of the law.

Difficult questions arise in the case of benefits promised under the Old Testament, and today's beautiful passage from Psalms raises one of them. Consider the verse: “[T]he generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house: . . .” God promised the Jews material benefits for following the law.

But how do we reconcile this with the teachings of Christ, which repeatedly stressed the incompatibility of serving God and serving “mammon”; consider the statement made in Matthew 19, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. . . . it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:21-23)

There are even churches that teach the ludicrous doctrine called “prosperity theology”: that if you follow Christ, you will get rich. They motivate congregations to follow Christ so that, basically, they can make more money. Well, we know that “pray and get rich quick” was not Christ's message.

But even more honest and Biblical Christians find a tension between wealth and piety; for at no point does the Bible teach us that poverty, or at least the minimal living standards adopted by Jesus and the apostles, is an absolute prerequisite for a full share of Christ's blessing.

What we must avoid is rationalization. That is, convincing ourselves that our greed is Christian, by stubbornly clinging to a line of thought that conveniently makes the Bible say what we want it to say about wealth, rather than what it actually says.

Perhaps God will bless us with a lot of money in this life. Perhaps we will make less money, due to our faith, because there are things we will not do to make money that others will do. We may certainly enjoy the good earth and its benefits.

Thankfully, there is no tension between the other promises made in Psalm 112 and the teaching of Christ and the apostles. Without doubt, a light rises up to us in the darkness, that will take away our anxiety; we can live without fear of evil tidings, our hearts buoyed up by the Holy Spirit, any time, any place: all we need to do is ask, and the peace “that passes all understanding” is ours.

So, if we are vexed by an issue having to do with money and religion, we need simply pray for peace about it. The Holy Spirit will show us the way, and, whatever decisions we make, we can find inner peace about them.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

John 13:34: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

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