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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for September 3, 2013

Michael Belk, Journeys with the Messiah
Lighten the Load, from the series “Journeys with the Messiah.” In 2009, fashion photographer Michael Belk undertook a series of photographs imagining Jesus in the 20th century. This is one of my favorites. The longer you look at it, the better the story it tells will become.



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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.


For a New Day

Lord, the newness of this day
Call me to an untried way;
Let me gladly take the road,
Give me strength to bear my load.
Thou my guide and helper be —
I will travel through with Thee.


A Prayer of Thanksgiving

O   God, who is near us always, I think you for all the good gifts with which you have filled my life; for love that makes life beautiful, for all thoughts that uplift and gladden, for faith to believe and strength to attain, for every experience which humbles and teaches the need of you. Let me never doubt that, having led me thus far, you will lead me to the end. I wish to serve you; show me how I can do it best. Graciously look upon me and use me as you will. And grant that I may employ all of your gifts to the end of setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,



Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,


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

Angel by Abbott Handerson Thayer ca. 1887. With all of the Thayer angels paintings we have shown here, we have somehow ignored this, the most famous of all his works. The model is his beautiful younger daughter, Gladys.

Trials and Tribulations

At least at times of loss, we are reminded of our priorities, of our many blessings. In times of gain, we can so often lose our way.

~ Mindy Starns Clark

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 6:13 (KJV)

Sermon on the Mount - Lord’s Prayer [8]

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Notes on the Scripture

We end the Lord's Prayer by acknowledging God's supremacy in three distinct attributes. First, God is the king and our world is part of His kingdom. A king is an unquestioned leader; He makes the law and is the final word on all matters. If one has a king, one does what the king tells him to do, or suffers the consequences. Moreover, a king rules by right. We have lost this concept in our human political sphere, since we live in an age of democracy when leaders rule by our sufferance and, usually, subject to a constitution.

But God neither needs nor has a higher power. He is not the president; he is not the prime minister; he is the King. He is not influenced by an upcoming election, or a need to kowtow to the sometimes foolish notions and fads of those He rules. His righteousness is eternal and absolute, and His law, perfect.

Second, we acknowledge God's power, which is absolute. All power is, ultimately, His. He created us and the universe in which we live; and He has told us that someday, He will destroy it, and bring those of us who are judged righteous to live in a new world.

Glory, like “king”, is a word that has fallen into disuse recently. It means, basically, the property of being worth of the highest praise possible, usually praise for a great achievement. It is praiseworthiness on steroids. We bow before the king from duty; we bow before great power by necessity; but we bow before glory willingly, in awe and wonder.

But surely, God realizes He is the almighty and glorious King. Why do we bother to tell God something He already knows?

It is not to inform Him, but to remind ourselves, for all three of these traits are something we naturally crave for ourselves. We want to be the boss; we lust for power; we seek admiration. But in pursuing them, we can lose our souls. The meek, Christ tells us, will inherit the earth. We must spend our lives seeking to expose the power and glory of God to the world, because if we do not, the world will turn its face away from God and towards itself, in the sinfulness of pride and self-glorification. And the first person I must inform and convince is myself.

The reason we must remind ourselves, every day, of God's power and kingship is that we are blinded to it. Imagine a person on a sinking ship in a storm, but lying in his cabin in a warm bed. It is warm and comfortable and seems safe in bed; whereas, outside it is cold, and wet, and dangerous. But he knows that if he doesn't get up and brave the storm to fix the ship, it will sink and he will die. He will never get to his destination unless he sees past the illusion of comfort and safety his bed provides.

Being human puts us in a similar predicament. It seems to us that money is power, or physical beauty is glorious, because like our sailor's warm bed, it is our immediate experience. But it is temporary and thus, ultimately, illusory. If we give in to the illusion, we will perish. And so, at the end of the Lord's Prayer, we remind ourselves of what is real and permanent and true.

endless knot

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Matthew 6:24 (NKJV): No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon

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