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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for January 11, 2014

Job Rebuked by His Friends by Wm. Blake, ca. 1825. “I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the Just upright man is laughed to scorn.” (Job 12:4)



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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 Day Ahead (from an old Prayer Book)

Almighty God, my heavenly Father, who declares your glory and shows forth your creation in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in whatever work my hand may find today, from the service of mammon; and assist me, that I may do the work which you have given me to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us, humbling himself to serve all who came to him and received him, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer of Abandonment

Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all Your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence,
For you are my Father.


Irish Blessing

Wisdom of years be yours
Joy of friendships be yours
Wealth of memories be yours
Fruit of endevor be yours
Hope of heaven be yours
Peace of God be yours.

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

Guardian Angel by Franz Dvorak, ca. 1911. A reminder of the sweetness of Christ's grace.

Job 14:1-2 (KJV)

Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 15:10-20 (ESV)

What Defiles a Person [1]

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.”

And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Notes on the Scripture

The words of the first paragraph, which seem like a simple statement to us, were shocking to the Jews. For over a thousand years, they had been taught that their dietary laws were mandatory, if one wanted to be righteous before God. To eat pork (for example) was to defile oneself, to become unclean in God's eyes. It was sinful. The entire basis of Judaism lay in literal compliance with the law. To say that this is outright wrong, as Jesus does here, cuts the legs out from underneath the Pharisees' religious beliefs.

In the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the first section in Matthew 5, Jesus had already preached that the righteousness of the heart and mind was more important to God than the outward compliance with ritual; but there, He also gave the rather perplexing gloss, that He had not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He attacked Jewish hypocrisy, not Judaism.

Similarly, when He was accused of impiety because his disciples gathered food on the Sabbath, and when He healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath (Matthew 12), He sought to conciliate his teachings and actions with the law of Moses; his defense to his critics was that they were interpreting the law incorrectly. Here, however, Christ seems to take his message a full step closer to outright revolution. His words imply that a core belief of the Pharisees, based explicitly on the law of Moses, is simply wrong. And in fact, the parallel version in Mark spells it out for us: “(Thus he declared all foods clean.)” (Mark 7:19b).

This raises a huge headache for the Bible reader. How can we square Christ's rejection of the dietary laws with his previous statments, e.g. “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished”? (Matthew 5:18)

We have seen, in previous chapters, that Christ often would transform a literal outward law, that is, a law pertaining to some particular external action, into a spiritual equivalent, a more general rule for the heart. In many cases, He would make a Mosaic law more stringent, such as telling us that holding hatred in our heart was the equivalent of murder.

So, as to the dietary laws, we might say that Christ has not completely abolished them, but rather transformed them. He continues to speak in terms of defilement, but He is concerned not with defilement of the body, but rather, defilement of the soul. The laws that we not put anything unclean into our mouth are transformed into rules that we not allow anything unclean to come out of our mouth. We can surely harm our bodies by ingesting something harmful, but this will effect only our life on earth; what will effect our righetousness before God, and thus our eternal life, is what we emit from out mouth.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

James 1:19-21 (NIV): My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

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