Daily Devotion for November 9, 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.
To Keep God in Mind This Day
Lord, let me begin this day in devout meditations, in joy unspeakable, and in blessing and praising You, who has given me such good hope and everlasting consolation.
Lift up my mind above all these little things below, which are apt to distract my thoughts; and keep it above, until my heart is fully resolved to seek You every day, in the path where Jesus has trod before me.
Prayer to be Free of Anger
Lord Christ, you taught us that anger with our brethren is a violation of your law, that it condemns us just as murder condemns us. Let me see clearly that anger is moral filth, as your servant James taught us. And yet, anger arises in my mind. [Pause to remember occasions when you have been angry recently.] I repent my anger, and ask that I be forgiven for this sin, by my faith in you.
Holy Spirit, be with me now and help me to recognize my anger instead of denying it. Teach me to forgive each and every act that makes me angry. Where I have been directly offended, grant me the spirit of forgiveness; where I have become angry over things I have seen other people do or heard them say, imbue me with such a powerful sense of acceptance that my anger will disappear. Let me remember always, Holy God, that I am not in charge of the world; You are. Give me total faith that you know what you are doing.
I pray not to live with suppressed anger, nor to deceive myself by denying my anger when I have merely suppressed it, but let it be utterly abolished within me. Grant me to live in love and peace, as my Savior did and taught us to do. Let my anger be crucified, I pray in your name, Lord Christ,
For the Philippines
Heavenly Lord, look down with mercy upon all those in the Philippines who have suffered the terrible devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Have mercy on the souls of those who have died; comfort and heal those who are injured; and be with all who have lost homes, friends or relatives, or otherwise suffered from this catastrophe. Soften the hearts of the world's people, and encourage them to give of their prayer, their substance and their time to help those who have suffered from this extraordinary storm. In the name of Jesus, your merciful Son, I pray.
Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Searching for Happiness
“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history — money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery — the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
~ C.S. Lewis
Matthew 12:27-31 (ESV)
A House Divided
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Notes on the Scripture
Few people would correctly identify the common phrase, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” as having originated with Jesus. But fewer still would know that it was originally applied to Satan's minions!
Christ seems to have tired of the accusations from the Pharisees, that when he cast out demons, he did so by the power of hell. It was, really, a stupid accusation. We see this in every sphere from people who lack intellectual honesty: If there is somebody that they have decided to oppose, they will resort to making ridiculous accusations.
And so Christ points our the logical flaw in their argument. Why would Beelzebul (now usually called “Beelzebub”) commission someone to go around undoing his work? How could Jesus be using the powers of Satan to cast out demons, when possession by demons is one of Satan's purposes?
He then points out another error: inconsistency. For the Jews also would cast out demonsExorcism was practiced by the Jews of the time. In addition to the inference from this passage, Josephus, the great Judeo-Roman historian (37-100 A.D.), describes in great detail a Jewish exorcism ritual in his work, The Jewish Wars. An account of driving away a demon is central to Tobit, especially Chapters 6-8. . Christ thus told the Pharisees, in effect, “why don't we let the Jews who cast out demons judge by what power they are cast out?” As Hamlet put it, he “hoist them with their own petardA line from Shakespeare's Hamlet, spoken by the title character, meaning to blow someone up with his own bomb..”
If the Pharisees had shown intellectual honesty in the matter, they would have had to admit that it was by God's power that Christ cast out demons. But here, if one needed it, was evidence of the Pharisees' corruption, proof that their opposition to Christ was not in complete good faith: they made ridiculous and illogical accusations against him.
And it is still so with those who despise Christianity, for one hears the most absurd and historically incorrect accusations against the religion and the church, especially the Catholic Church prior to the Reformation, with no acknowledgment of earthly good deeds. Anti-Christians, for example, will claim that the Church was responsible for slavery, or at least supportive of it; and they will misquote the phrase from Colossians, “Slaves, obey your masters”, as if it were encouraging slavery.
Without denying the considerable corruption of the Renaissance Church, it was, nevertheless, the only real anti-slavery force in European politics at the time. In 1435, several papal bulls were issued, forbidding the enslavement of colonized natives (first of Christian converts and later of any person), on pain of excommunication.
Enforcement was periodically relaxed, especially as the Church reached its nadir of corruption around the time of Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI). It seems to have come in cycles, reflecting the cyclical struggle within the Church between piety and political corruption. That is to say, the Church (and many Protestant churches, after the Reformation) would periodically turn a blind eye to slavery or even relax its stated opposition. Still, as a matter of stated principle, the Catholic Church generally opposed slavery and continued to issue edicts against it; and it was the only institution in Europe to do so.