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Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Daily Devotion for November 26, 2013

<i>Vision after the Sermon</i> by Paul Gaugin ca. 1894.
Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin ca. 1894. We don’t think of Gaugin as a Christian visionary, but he was apparently moved deeply by a sermon about Jacob wrestling the angel. (Genesis 32:22-31) The pious congregation are transformed into spectators.



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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.


A beautiful video for this beautiful song.

To Spread Cheer

Holy God, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more cheer than gloom, spread more joy than despair. Let me remind those I meet that our final existence will be total joy, and that we may taste this joy through the Spirit even today. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and forget momentarily all the temporary unpleasantness in their lives. And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper, “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.”


Prayer of Repentance (from Psalm 51)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. I am full of shame at my sin, and my heart lies heavy.

Purge me and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.



Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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

i>Jacob and the Angel</i> by Giordano Luca, ca. 1694.
Jacob and the Angel by Giordano Luca, ca. 1694. Quite a contrast from Gauguin's expressionist vision at the top of the page.


Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.

~ C. S. Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 13:24-30 (ESV)

The Parable of the Weeds

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”

He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

He who has ears, let him hear.

Notes on the Scripture

Whether the parables were meant to explain the truth to those seeking it (as Matthew seems to indicate), or hide it from those who opposed Christ (as Mark emphasizes), and although they were intended for an uneducated agricultural audience 2000 years ago, we find we do not need Christ's explanatory material for a basic understanding of the Parable of the Weeds. The fundamental meaning is fairly easy for the modern reader to grasp.

bible tares | bearded darnel
Darnel (right) and rye (left)
at maturity.

Some historical and cultural background adds interest to the story. There is a weed common in Canaan, bearded darnel, that is both poisonousDarnel is not a deadly poison, but eating it causes dizziness and nausea. It is also bitter, and even a small amount will make bread unpalatable. to eat and difficult to distinguish from wheat until it is mature. Malicious competitors or enemies would actually sow darnel seed in another farmer's wheat fields to sabotage him. Because the immature plant looks like wheat, the farmer would have to let it mature; and because it was poisonous, he would have to remove and burn it before harvesting the wheat.

This practice was common enough that Rome had a written statute outlawing the sowing of bearded darnel in wheat (and barley) fields and providing criminal penalties for doing it.

The longer we look at the parable, the more lessons we may take from it:

  1. There is an active enemy who seeks to destroy Christ's Word. We should not look at the Bible as an auxiliary in a neutral world. Life is not God-neutral; it is rather a battlefield. If one does not actively seek salvation, the enemy will attack and destroy him.
  2. The parable contains the idea of deceptive appearances. A good person and an evil one might look just alike. “By their fruits you shall know them” is interpreted literally in the parable.
  3. Perhaps the greatest lesson is patience and withholding judgment. If the Lord cannot or will not judge between wheat and tares until the harvest, it makes our refusal to pass judgment even more important. Notice that one reason darnel is not removed from wheat fields until the harvest is that its roots become entangled with the wheat. If a farmer tries to weed his field of it, he will destroy productive wheat. Some of those who are meant to be saved, without doubt, lead early lives of terrible sin. Consider Paul of Tarsus!
  4. Judgment does, however, come. The weeds flourish and prosper during the summer, as much as the wheat. But one day the time for harvest arrives, and the angels of God separate it and burn it.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Proverbs 31:10-12 (KJV): Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

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