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Daily Devotion for November 12, 2013

<i>Pietà</i> by Michelangelo, ca. 1499
Pietà by Michelangelo, ca. 1499, perhaps the most-loved statue in Christendom. It rests in an alcove of St. Peter’s Basilica. (See full-size)



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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.


Our apologies for the video feed, which is just a bunch of album covers for the little known Irish band “Skid Row”, but the musical performance of the old Negro Spiritual Let Us Break Bread Together by Eamonn Gibney, their lead singer, is excellent.

Prayer for the Morning

Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.


For Those Who Suffer

God of time and of eternity, in your hands you hold the souls of the righteous, and in your heart there is room for all people; shine forth upon all who are tried in the furnace of suffering and illness, and especially on those for whom I pray today; in your grace and mercy may we know that you watch over us; bring us at the last to abide with you in love; I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely

Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.



Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,


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

endless knot

Proverbs 11:2 (ESV)

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 12:33-37 (ESV)

A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Notes on the Scripture

Today's Scripture includes two colorful analogies that should sound familiar. John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers” during his early ministry, as recounted in Matthew 3; and Christ delivered a memorable passage, “by their fruits you shall know them,” in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:15-20), teaching us how to distinguish false prophets from true. In fact, John the Baptist also used the “good fruits” analogy:

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. . . . Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Soteriology — the five-dollar word for the theology of salvation, the way in which we intellectually conceive how we might be saved from our sins — has a basic division into “justification by faith” and “justification by works”.

Almost all Christian theologians teach that we cannot achieve salvation by good works; we are saved by our faith alone. God, through his Son, will forgive us for our sins if we believe in him. And there is much Scripture underlying the concept. Certainly, we cannot be saved simply by our own merits, without God's grace.

Here is the problem: Our actions still matter. The Bible's actual teachings on justification by “works” vs. “faith” defy human logic. There are, indeed, parts of the Bible that are logically irreconcilable with either position. When the rich young man asks Jesus, “what good deed must I do to earn eternal life?” Jesus tells him, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments. . . You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, . . .” (Matthew 19:16-22)

And James tells us,

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? . . . [F]aith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-26)

In today's Scripture, Jesus tells us, “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”. It is not our place to twist this simple statement into the procrustean bed of theology. The Bible must be read. The Word of God must be taken straight, because we begin to go wrong the moment we try to bend it to our logic.

Madonna and Child, Lucia della Robbia ca. 1450.

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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Comments (18)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of November 12, 2013 | Daily Prayer
Dewey Rose (Lynbrook, US) says...
Thank you for all you do. I love reading the Daily Prayer every morning.
14th November 2013 9:19am
wariya (cebu, Philippines) says...
This is my first time reading this daily devotion and am really bless. Keep the good work going God bless you
12th November 2013 10:52pm
anthony murphy (great sutton, UK) says...
please keep up the good work the work u do keep this world working goodness of your writing keep the devil away love your notes
god is watching.
12th November 2013 2:59pm
Chinita (New Jersey, US) says...
I love Daily Devotion. Read it every morning and share with a friend or two. Very inspiring and educational! Keep up the great work Mason - God Bless you. My prayers go out to everyone in the Philippians.
12th November 2013 10:09am
Chinita (New Jersey, US) says...
**Correction: My prayers go out to everyone in the Philippines.Blush
12th November 2013 10:12am
mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
Love this site!, Love this new feature! I have been taking an on line course by a Franciscan monk Richard Rohr and we have spent a lot of time on words verses acts: Here is my take on this; Words have great power, they can either separate us or unit us; The meaning of words is heavily influenced by society or culture-family background-gender- race-age-life experiences-etc. for instance take the word hate Think of it being said by 1. a 5 year old who is really mad at his friend. 2}a 22 year old ... Read More
12th November 2013 9:00am
Mason Barge says...
Mary, this is something I have been thinking about a lot. There is, actually, an entire field of learning about this, called "semiotics". You could major in it in college if you wanted to, and it gets really technical and intricate. My own current thoughts have been specifically about how peoples' preconceptions filter what they read in Scripture. This includes childhood religious training, what church they might belong to, how strongly they hold political beliefs, etc., as well ... Read More
12th November 2013 10:46am
Mike McDade says...
Mason and Mary,
My desernment of a verse consistently reacts to how the Holy Spirit is moving in my life at the time he leads me to the verse. I have read a verse that will offer hope, peace, guidence, or comfort I return to read the verse another time and it can mean something completely different or seem erelevent. It is the living word of GOD, Inspired by God to give us the wisdom and faith to stand through any circumstance when we lean nmot on our own understanding.
12th November 2013 12:38pm
mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
To: <> Subject: Re: Comments: Notification to Mason Keep us all posted on what you learn about semiotics. Having been a clinical social worker for 40 years I have come to believe that the way we see and act on life and especially the Bible is being filtered through all of these things. I often wonder if this is what Jesus meant when he refers to the log in our eyes that we don't seem to notice, but we can see the spec in our neighbors eye.He was and continues to be ... Read More
12th November 2013 10:06pm
12th November 2013 8:25am
Diane M (Shady Side, US) says...
I found this site several weeks ago, and I visit it every morning. I really love it !! Thank you so much and God Bless you !!
12th November 2013 8:07am
A. Jordan (new orleans, US) says...
Its truly a blessing to me to have found this site, the Lord has truly bless you. God Bless and keep up the good work.
12th November 2013 6:39am
Heather (Jacksonville, US) says...
I also love this site and start my day with it every day. I especially love the Youtube music. My only problem is I cannot use the link. I click there but nothing happens. Maybe it's just me! Smile
12th November 2013 6:31am
Kim Randall (Winder, US) says...
Love the site. Start my mornings on it. Learning a lot taking the quiz!
Thank you so much!
12th November 2013 6:14am
Christine Conkling (Walton, US) says...
Been with you almost since the beginning Mason! Emailed you a couple of times and you always got right back to me! I begin every morning with your site. It is a wonderful spiritual start to my day.
12th November 2013 5:30am
Dawn Buckmire says...
I look forward to the message daily. Thank you!
12th November 2013 5:20am
M A Peterson (Duluth Minnesota, US) says...
I agree so completely with Christine's comment, it is difficult to add to it. Thank you for the peace you bring into my life.
12th November 2013 5:05am
Christine (Falkirk Stirlingshire, UK) says...
I'm afraid that I cannot find one thing to criticise, as I have found Daily Prayer to be a true blessing in my life. The paintings, music, prayers, and bible readings all contribute a great deal to my walk with Christ. I am very grateful to the work and time it must take to create this wonderful place.. Thank you and may God continue to bless your efforts for many years to come.
12th November 2013 2:22am
David (Austin) says...
The Holy Spirit is the same in any belief in a Higher Power, or God. There is a spiritual tie that binds all His creatures, and God, through Jesus Christ, is saying that you have to have that spiritual tie to connect to Him. If you don't have that tie, you cannot "know" Him and therefore cannot be "forgiven". Or at least that's my take. Thank you so much for this thought provoking devotional. I read and contemplate it while listening to Gregorian chants on Pandora.
11th November 2013 10:12pm
bob says...
I appreciate the effort that goes into this work and feel the teaching has been a blessing to me.
11th November 2013 7:05pm
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