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Daily Devotion for September 14, 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.
The odd combination of Mahalia Jackson and Dinah Shore (almost surely from The Dinah Shore Show) actually works, despite the stylistic gulf between them, largely because Dinah has enough humility and/or musical sense to let her guest take the lead. She seems to genuinely enjoy singing backup to a gospel legend.
Blessed are you, Lord God: Blessed are you for ever. Holy is your name: Blessed are you for ever. Great is your mercy for your people. In the morning I cry out to you: Blessed are you for ever.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I praise you and give you glory: I bless you for calling me to be one of your holy people. Remain in my heart, and guide me in my love and service all of this day. Help me to shine your light before others and lead them to the way of faith. Holy Trinity of love, I praise you now and for ever.
For Forgiveness Among Fellow Christians
Teach me, O Lord, to act so that all my deeds will glorify your holy name and your wonderful creation. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to you, and deliver them from evil. Send them comfort in distress, consolation in sorrows, and your holy mercy to forgive their misdeeds.
I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused or aggrieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour your mercy upon them. I also pray to you for all those whom I, a sinner, have insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, whether knowingly or without intending or realizing I had done so. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and offenses and insults against each other. Dispel from our hearts all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. Replace resentment with forgiveness, I pray, in the name of Christ.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his from the beginning, and today, and beyond the end of time,
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.
It is more important that you should know about the reverses than about the successes of the war. We shall have all eternity to celebrate the victories, but we have only the few hours before sunset in which to win them.
~ Amy Carmichael
Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
Sermon on the Mount - Do Unto Others
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Notes on the Scripture
Matthew 7, the last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, is something of a catch-all. There was a man named Papias, about whom little is known except that he became the Bishop of HieropolisHieropolis was a small city in what is now rural western Turkey, inland from Ephesus; and like Ephesus, is nothing but a ruin today. around 100 A.D. and wrote five books, of which only fragments remain. One of these fragments, however, tells us that Matthew kept notes of Christ's teachings in Hebrew. Most people infer that these notes were used to write the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew was called to discipleship, according to his own Gospel, after the Sermon on the Mount. This creates an issue of chronology, as he could not have taken notes firsthand at an event where he was not present. So, some of his notes were collected from others, or taken down secondhand. Or possibly, Matthew heard them firsthand at a later time, and attributed to the Sermon on the Mount; this is certainly possible, since Jesus, in three years of constant teaching, surely repeated Himself many times.
It seems that the final editor of our “Gospel According to Matthew” — probably not Matthew himself — was able to piece together most of Matthew's Hebrew notes into a flowing, thematically cohesive narrative. But when that was accomplished, there were scraps left over. These are important, for they are the sole verbatim source of some of Christ's teaching. But they are short, stand-alone sayings, even one-liners, difficult to connect to the rest of the book.
Today's Scripture is such a scrap. It does fit a little with the end of yesterday's Scripture, and it also summarizes a major theme of the Sermon on the Mount, as it is a concept present in the Lord's Prayer. But, appearing where it does, it sounds like the conclusion of a long teaching that is lost.
It may be a one-liner, but it is one of the most famous sayings in history, important enough to merit a name: The Golden Rule.
By our nature, we hear an insult directed against ourselves very loud, but one that we direct at another person, hardly at all; an oddity that most people must learn again and again. In fact, naive people might say something they think is helpful and therefore friendly — “I think you look better with long hair” to someone who has just gotten a haircut, or “that color doesn't flatter your skin tone” — and then be surprised that the recipient of the comment feels miffed, or even insulted and angry.
This page isn't Ann Landers, but here is a hint for not insulting people: If you ever start a sentence with “Don't take this wrong way” or “No insult intended” — stop talking. Bite your tongue. Don't say it. You are about to insult them. Unless you simply want to be a passive-aggressive jerk, don't give unsolicited criticism.
Jesus had in mind issues greater than childish insensitivity, though. The Golden Rule is connected to His statements on reciprocity of judgment and forgiveness: e.g., “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15) or “with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged” (Matthew 7:2).