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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for July 6, 2013

Vincent Van Gogh: <i>The Raising of Lazarus</i> ca. 1890
Vincent Van Gogh: The Raising of Lazarus ca. 1890. Van Gogh’s madness shows clearly in this masterpiece, done shortly before his own death.



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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.


Alan Jackson’ soft acoustic country style is like warm maple syrup on pancakes. Perfect for this old favorite.

Prayer for the Morning

You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?

Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.

But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.


Prayer to Resist Temptation

Holy God, You know the temptations that I am facing today. But your Word promises that I will not be tempted beyond what I can bear.

Jesus and dove

Help me, heavenly Father, to stand up against sin, to resist whatever temptation I may encounter this day, in whatever form it may come. Your Word promises that you will provide a way out of any temptation, and I pray to be able to find it and to have the wisdom to use it, and to walk away when temptation arises. All thanks be to you, O Lord, for you are a faithful deliverer; and I can count on your help in my time of need.


To Heal Divisions

Father, may our human family not become separated from you by building barriers of race, color, class, or beliefs. Inspire us to recognize that we are all made in your image and likeness, so that we may grow in appreciation of all people, and encourage each other to grow in pride in who we are and who we are called to be. May we recognize your Son in our midst, and live truly as brothers and sisters. I pray this in the name of Christ, in remembrance of His love for the Samaritan woman at the well.



Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the church and in the world, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.


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

Forgiven by George Harcourt, ca. 1880. The unabashed sentimentalism of Harcourt's painting has a charming innocence. What has she done, to be so profoundly regretful?

Proverbs 27:12 (KJV)

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself;
but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Blue Latin Cross

Luke 4:16-24

A Prophet in His Own Land

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book of the prophet Esaias was given to him; and he opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all the synagogue were fastened on him. And he said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

And all listened to him, and wondered at his gracious words. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

And he said to them, “You will surely tell me the old proverb: 'Physician, heal thyself: what you have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in your homeland.”

And he said, “Truly I say to you: No prophet is accepted in his own land.”

Notes on the Scripture

When Jesus left Nazareth, he was a regular blue-collar worker; he has been gone for many months, and something has changed. In the first place, they have heard stories of miracles he has performed in Capernaum (about 30 miles away). Then, he stands in the synagogue like a prominent scholar and preaches like a prophet. It even sounds like he is claiming to be someone foretold by the great prophet Isaiah (Esias). What in the world is going on with this guy?

Here we get two very famous quotes. The first, “physician, heal thyself,” refers to the fact that Christ will not be able to heal the people of his home town as he has done elsewhere. As recounted in Mark 6:5-6,

“ He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief.”

The Nazarenes complain that Christ does not heal the sick, but It is a self-inflicted wound. His miracles when people have faith in him, not vice versa. The honor he has found elsewhere does not exist among the people he grew up with.

People often find it hard to accept change in others, and the people of Nazareth have trouble seeing Jesus, the familiar carpenter, as the Son of God. It seems in general, the better we know someone, the harder it is to accept change.

But people really can change, especially as they pass out of adolescence into adulthood, and inability to accept such change can lead to unnecessary pain and difficulty. Many parents have trouble accepting their children as adults even if the child has, truly, become self-sufficient and responsible for himself. Sometimes we don't want people to change.

There is an even greater challenge in all of this: Can we accept change in ourselves? Especially at the moment we accept Christ, we must be willing to see ourselves as someone who is not the same as they used to be, and it isn't always easy. If you have accepted Christ, you have undergone, not just a change, but a radical, life-altering change.

Here's a good example: Can you accept a loss of guilt and shame? That is, can you understand that you have been profoundly forgiven, to the point that the old part of you that generated guilt and shame has become vestigial, unnecessary, even harmful or wrong? Diminishing harmful emotions, such as anxiety, guilt, and depression, are earthly benefits of our faith, but these habits of thought, drilled into us at an early age, can seem intransigent.

No matter how impossible it may seem to let these emotions go, let us always remember Christ's words to the rich young man: “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:23-26)

endless knot

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