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Thursday, October 27, 2016

When there is a psalm at the beginning of the Scripture, you might consider reading it out loud.

Daily Devotion for August 11, 2013

<i>The Temptation of St. Anthony</i> by Joos von Craesbeeck, ca. 1650.
The Temptation of St. Anthony by Joos von Craesbeeck, ca. 1650. This Bosch-like fantasy shows a comparatively tame scene of St. Anthony and a local woman, on the right, creating a tempestuous struggle within his mind, on the left.



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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 Purity of Worship

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,



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 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 today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.


Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester (1230 A.D.)

Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits thou hast won for me,
For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.

O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly
For ever and ever.



Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


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

endless knot

Psalm 25:1-10 (ESV)

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Sermon on the Mount - Lust in Your Heart

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ”

Notes on the Scripture

As we discussed on Friday, this section of Matthew is informed by Jesus' frightening statement, “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” He actually has not abolished the law of Moses; He is making it tougher. So tough, in fact, that people will eventually realize that compliance with it is impossible.

Peeping Tom

The specific illustration of feeding sexual lust by intentionally looking at another person hits a stronger chord with men than women, simply because of human biology. But women can draw their own analogies; and also, it applies to men in situations other than sexual lust. Who has not gone out of their way to tease themselves with temptation? We do it on purpose; we feed our own desire to sin.

Where we purposefully form a sinful desire, even if we restrain ourselves, a sin is committed. Emphasis on inner sinfulness and the necessity of reforming our hearts, rather than simply our actions (as the scribes and Pharisees did), is the key to Christ's early teachings.

One important problem in interpreting these verses is solved by the excellent English Standard Version's translation, “who looks at a woman with lustful intent.” Less accurate translations, with more ambiguous phrasing such as “lust in our hearts”, can be misleading. To sin, we must do something on purpose. We do not sin by an inadvertent stimulation of desire.

So a man who buys a Playboy magazine, or goes to a strip club, or goes to a pool hoping to ogle women in their bikinis, transgresses Christ's teaching. But simply seeing an attractive person and feeling an automatic pang of sexual longing does not. The difference is between seeing and looking. God gave us our sex drive, just as He gave us our hunger for food and our desire to clothe ourselves. If we are overweight and trying to diet, we shouldn't go to a bakery to smell the cupcakes!

Amish teenager
The Amish are astute at refusing to tempt themselves.

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Psalm 55:22: Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

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