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Daily Devotion for December 16, 2013


<i>The Wise and Foolish Virgins (detail)</i>, Hieronymous Francken, the Younger ca. 1616. | Matthew 25:1
The Wise and Foolish Virgins (detail), Hieronymous Francken, the Younger ca. 1616. These five foolish virgins appear to have had quite a party! (See Full Painting)

Prayers

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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.

Amen.

The goofy good humor of this Advent carol should get everyone pepped up for the week to come.



Prayer for the Morning

Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.

I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,

Amen.

Prayer of Thanks

O  Thou whose bounty fills my cup with every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, the bitter and the sweet.

I praise Thee for the desert road, and for the riverside; for all Thy goodness hath bestowed, and all Thy grace denied.

I thank Thee for both smile and frown, and for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown and for the present cross.

I thank Thee for both wings of love which stirred my worldly nest; and for the stormy clouds which drove me, trembling, to Thy breast.

I bless Thee for the glad increase, and for the waning joy; and for this strange, this settled peace which nothing can destroy.

Amen.
by Jane Crewdson (1860)

Dedication

O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,

Amen.


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.





endless knot

Psalm 134 (ASV)

Greetings of Night Watchers.

Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord, Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!

Lift up your hands to the sanctuary and bless the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV)

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.

parable of ten virgins, wise and foolish, lamps and oil

And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.

Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.



Notes on the Scripture

This parable of Christ is easily understood. Christ is the bridegroom, and the virgins are the people of earth awaiting his coming. Those who prepare themselves for the coming of Christ will enter into "the marriage feast", which is Christ's kingdom. But those who do not prepare themselves, Christ will deny.

Because we do not know when Christ will come, we must prepare ourselves now, with daily prayer and the reading of God's Word. We must at all times remember our belief in Christ and our faith in His resurrection, and we must honor Him with our praise.

During Advent, we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ, his birth as a human child to a humble young woman who spent the night in a barn. This echoes our waiting for Christ's return, and the joy we express in remembrance of Christ's birth echoes the joy we know will come when Christ returns to us.



Wise and foolish virgins | Matthew 25:1
Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (detail) Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow, ca. 1840. This wise virgin shows how beautiful German Romanticism could be, when the artist showed restraint and subtlety.

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 12:6:

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”



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