Daily Devotion for August 4, 2013
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.
Live worship from Ireland featuring Stuart Townend, singing Benediction (May the Peace of God)
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For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer to Dedicate Oneself to Christ This Week
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this week I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Your care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to Your ways. Mold me completely into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise. Let those around see me living by Your Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clothed in the entire armor of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil soil my thoughts, words, and hands.
May I travel swampy paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In every transaction let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order all my communications during the week to come according to Your wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end this week, let this be my best week. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord and Savior,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the past week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Walk with me, dear Lord, so that I may not be alone as I face this coming week, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all through the week to come; and bless all whom I may meet.
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.
Proverbs 17:1, 14 (NKJV)
Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
Matthew 5:9 (ESV)
The Beatitudes 
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Notes on the Scripture
Notice that the people endorsed here are peace makers, not peace lovers. Certainly we must love peace, but that is not the subject of the verse. Making peace denotes an activity, not a passive state. The children of God are what theologians call the “Church Militant,” those who are willing to go forth and, if you will excuse the expression, fight for peace.
This does not raise any political issue; whether (for example) Neville Chamberlain might have prevented WW2 by sending armed forces into Czechoslovakia in 1938, simply is not what Matthew is talking about. At no point does Christ tell us to pick up a literal sword. Christ will not even defend his own life; and when Peter picks up a sword to defend him, Christ tells him: “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:51-52)
The first place we must make peace is within ourselves. In interpreting Matthew 5:9, the early Christian writers very much emphasized the battle for internal peace. Most people are a walking civil war, subject to an unending struggle between good and evil, pulled in two directions by the Holy Spirit and sinful instincts. Does this ring a bell? Popular cartoonists will depict a person in temptation with an angel on one shoulder and a red devil on the other, one per ear.
We can make inner peace only one way: by giving our hearts entirely to Christ. And again, doing so is an active state, for we do not get a diploma that certifies us “Christian” and declare a cease fire. There will be no treaty made with evil; it will try to engage us in battle every minute of our lives.
Later commentators have begun to emphasize the need for us to examine our relationships with other people, when discussing this passage. First, how well are we able to let the Spirit control our own one-on-one relationships and our behavior in groups? And secondly, how well have we learned to defuse tense situations between others? For every group, including church groups, will include people who are apt to stir up trouble.
“The beginning of strife,” says Solomon, “is like the letting out of water. ” (Proverbs 17:14) So, it is our goal to learn to plug the leak in a dam before it widens. To be peacemakers. Some people have a knack for this — perhaps it might even be called a spiritual gift — but it is a skill that we can all develop, and that is certainly what this verse teaches us to do.