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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Daily Devotion for December 9, 2013

Urbi et Orbi | Flammarion
Urbi et Orbi, unknown ca. 1888, also called The Flammarion Engraving. Urbi et Orbi (Latin for “City and World”) denotes a Papal Blessing given to the City of Rome and to the entire world on certain occasions. This engraving borrows the name, but is more concerned with the mystical quest for knowledge beyond the bounds of the earth; one could see the figure representing myriad people, including the Prophet Isaiah (although it could equally well represent a scientist).



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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.


Prayer for the Morning

Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,


Prayer of Thanks

Thank you, oh source of all abundance, for surrounding me with good things. But help me to remember that nothing of earthly value owns timeless truth. Let your immeasurable blessings transform how I perceive material benefits. Teach me to appreciate unchanging treasures: the wealth of your compassion, the grandeur of your wisdom, and the richness of reconciliation. Lighten my selfishness with simple faith. Help me to reveal your love more joyously. And strengthen me in grace, oh God, always to give the best that serves you most in humble gratitude.



Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.


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

Job at Prayer, Marc Chagall
Job at Prayer by Marc Chagall, ca. 1960.

Comfort for Today

Isaiah is the prophet we need to hear today as he cries out God’s message above the din of world upheaval, “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” The English word “comfort” comes from two Latin words that together mean “with strength.” When Isaiah says to us, “Be comforted!” it is not a word of pity but of power. God’s comfort does not weaken us; it strengthens us. God is not indulging us but empowering us. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

~ Warren Wiersbe

Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 24:1, 5-6 (ESV)

A Curse Devours the Earth

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.

The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.

Isaiah 25:6-9

He Will Swallow Up Death

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Notes on the Scripture

Isaiah is a very long and complex book of prophecy, as he deals with the great theological issues of both the Old Testament and coming of Christ in broad strokes, but also specifically prophesies about the immediate situation of the Hebrew nation: the idolatry and subsequent punishment that God would bring upon the Jews of his period.

He lived at the time when the destruction of Israel had already begun, from the late 8th century B.C. to the early 7th century. Israel had been divided into two kingdoms since the death of Solomon (map), and when Isaiah was a young man, he witnessed the conquest of the weaker northern part, the Kingdom of Israel. Israel denied the rightful, divinely-ordained kingship of the house of David, and both the wickedness of her kings and her more vulnerable geo-political position made Israel first to fall.

The more powerful Kingdom of Judah, the land of David and Jerusalem in the south, was still intact, but not for long; as Isaiah correctly predicted, it would be smashed, the temple destroyed, and its people transported to Babylon in chains.

But the passages today reflect the more general theological prophecy of Isaiah, in a capsule. God's justice on the earth would be terrible, for the Jews, the chosen people who held God's wrath at bay, were failing in their mission. They had not lived up to the first covenant; and as with Noah, the anticipated outcome was utter devastation.

And yet, there would be salvation. For, as we will see in the next few days, Isaiah had been shown that a Messiah would come from the house of the true King of Israel, the house of David; He will be the savior we have awaited and we will rejoice in his salvation.

The complexity of Isaiah can be see if we look at the two passages, which seem utterly contradictory, not as possible alternatives, but as envisioning the New Testament all the way to the last page of Revelation. For God will eventually destroy the earth; but at the same time, those who have embraced the salvation offered by this Messiah to come will be given a new home, a new earth, and an eternal life of joy.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Today Daily Prayer will begin using Scripture for the Advent and Christmas season. We will resume our study of the second half of Matthew in early January.

Memory Verse

Matthew 12:6:

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”

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