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Monday, July 16, 2018

Daily Devotion for February 6, 2014

Emblem of Mark the Evangelist, St. Mary Church, Alton, Illinois. Mark's emblem, the lion, symbolized boldness in proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God.



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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 to Do God’s Will

Oh Lord God, Father Almighty who created me and everything I see and enjoy, blessed and beautiful Jesus, love of my heart, bounteous Holy Spirit of God who is so kind as to be with me and comfort me whenever I ask, I thank you for all that I am and all that I have had in my life. Thy will be done, my God. I ask only that you let me know your will for me, for I am often confused or conflicted, and I seek your guidance. Knowing your will for me, let me be anxious for nothing. And I pray for the strength, the power and the energy, to accomplish your purpose. All glory be to you, one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who was before time and will be forever,



[What is your will for me?]

Prayer for Protections (from Psalm 3)

O  Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cry aloud to you, and you answer me from your holy hill. I lie down and sleep, and I wake again, for you have sustained me. I will not fear the men of this world, even if thousands set themselves against me.

Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For salvation belongs to you alone. May your blessing be ever on your people.


Closing Prayer

And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.


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

<i>Angel on the Holy Sepulchre</i> by Mikhail Nesterov, ca. 1911.
Angel on the Holy Sepulchre by Mikhail Nesterov, ca. 1911. The wonderful Art Nouveau colors Nesterov uses here are unusual in religious art.

Psalm 22:29-31 (NKJV)

All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.

A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 18:7-9 (ESV)

The Severity of Tempting Others

Woe to the world for temptations to sinLiterally, “stumbling blocks”. See the discussion from last Tuesday for more about this.! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fireLiterally “Gehenna”..

Notes on the Scripture

First off, a note on the translation. “Hell” is a dynamic equivalentA “dynamic equivalent” translation replaces the literal words used in the Bible with a more modern term that will, hopefully, convey the meaning better than a literal translation. expression for the original “Gehenna”, which is actually quite a colorful idea if you know what Genenna was: A hideous smouldering valley filled with acrid smoke, where all of the nastiest refuse of Jerusalem was dumped and burned. A live person might literally prefer to cut off his hand than live there. Gehenna also raises another colorful image: If we tempt others to sin, God is going to throw us onto the trash heap for permanent disposal!

Let us presume that Christ is not telling us that we should actually pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands. There have been sects that did mutilate themselves to prevent sin — most notably an 18th century Russian cult (the “Skoptzy”) who castrated themselves, male and female, to eliminate sexual temptation. But cutting off a hand would not be very effective, anyway.

So Christ is using intensively disturbing imagery to drive home exactly how seriously we should take the matter: tempting others to sin. The Scripture is a continuation of Matthew 18:5-6; Jesus here elaborates on what a terrible thing it is to lead another person, especially a child or innocent person, into temptation. We will sin and we will face temptation; but we are capable of avoiding being the intentional source of temptation to others.

Committing adultery, for example, is a sin. Intentionally seducing a married man or woman — talking someone into committing adultery who was not already tempted — increases the gravity of the wrongdoing. Really, this passage can be read as saying that tempting another person into sin is worse than simply committing sin.

Much of the New Testament seems to imply that there is no hierarchy of sins, although Christ does say that some people will be rewarded more than others in heaven. (E.g. Matthew 5:17-19) The Catholic Church teaches that there is a distinction between venal and mortal sins. Other denominations teach that all sin is mortal. (It is, to me, an open question. Smarter people than I have studied it and reached different conclusions!)

The second paragraph lends itself to both a personal and a societal message. In the personal realm, Christ is telling us to get rid of temptation within our own lives. Do you watch pornography on hotel televisions? Have the front desk disable the television when you check in. Do you look great in that skimpy bikini? Don't try it on in the first place. Do you get furious when somebody tailgates you? Pull over and let him pass you.

The societal message, at least within the setting of a church, is to get rid of disruptive influences. If there are people who insist on tempting others into sin . . . out they go! Paul was quite clear about this, in his advice to the church at Corinth, where a man was sleeping with his father's wife and refused to stop: “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. 5:3-5) He did not, by the way, mean that the person should be executed; he meant he should be sent out into the world, where hopefully he would suffer enough from his depravity that he might repent.

endless knot

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Acts 2:40 (NET): “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!”

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Comments (13)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of February 6, 2014 | Daily Prayer
Joel (US) says...
I'm confused by your image selection on the front page. You called it the emblem of a saint "Mark the Evangelist", but in Daniel 7:4 it talks about that as the image of the first beast, Babylon. There are several examples where gates of Babylon and idols featured this imagery. What's worse, it has a halo to somehow sanctify it. I'm not sure Catholic adoption of pagan symbols can erase the abomination it represents, even when it signifies something God specifically hates in ... Read More
6th February 2014 11:13am
Mason Barge says...
Read 1 Corinthians 8. The symbol is intended to stand for Mark and understood as such.

A fish was a pagan symbol for female reproductive organs. Should we object when it is used as a symbol for Christ?
6th February 2014 11:43am
Micheal (Chicago, US) says...
Hello Mason, I wrote you a few weeks ago expressing my concern about the racial diversity of your web site. While I've seen a bit more diversity, I believe that your comments about Gorge Washington and our current president are unwarranted. As a matter of fact they are just plain wrong. As a result I won't be reading Daily Prayer any more. There are other things about your site I don't like but but the site is yours and you're free to advocate as you please. We'll just agree ... Read More
6th February 2014 10:37am
Mason Barge says...
My remarks about George Washington did not and were not intended to single out Obama.

You've seen a "bit more diversity" because you've been reading the page more than a couple of days. It has always been there. The devotions are finalized over 30 days before they appear.

Why would I want to ignore African-American culture? It's something I enjoy a great deal. Or people, who I also like a great deal and, in the case of my brothers and sisters in Christ, love a great deal.
6th February 2014 11:57am
Mason Barge says...
Well I looked back a few days and I did say "the White House today". I really didn't mean to single out Obama. I don't think there has been a president in my lifetime who had the integrity of George Washington.

But this will teach me to stay away from politics completely. Politics are, from a Biblical perspective - and increasingly, from my own persepective - just not very important.
6th February 2014 12:10pm
David Pickney (Westerville, US) says...
Phil True has some valid points about teachings in the public schools, but as a student , not a teacher from the late 40s I remember school and church were separate. I had the best of both worlds, school weekdays, church on Saturday nite for confession and Sunday for Mass. I'm thankful for those values from which I received from my parents. It really all starts at home.
6th February 2014 9:14am
Suzanne (Indian River, US) says...
I have 2 granddaughters both 11 years old. One goes to a Catholic school and the other to a public school. I decided to get them the book "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims" by Rush Limbaugh. Some of you may or may not be a fan of his, but this book is an excellent source to explain to children about the pilgrims, etc. The one in public school knew nothing about the pilgrims but the one in Catholic school did. Both have read the book and enjoyed it very much. The one in public school ... Read More
6th February 2014 8:50am
Mary Lewis (Scotia, US) says...
To continue the discussion of "Teach Your Children Well" In today's world of school there are very little references to the pilgrims, the puritans,or Geroge Washington. If you ask today's public school student about these things you will most likely get back a blank stare. I am continually astounded at what they have never heard of! I appreciate that Mr. True's beloved wife taught for 30 years, my own mother taught those long years, but I feel that if those two teachers ... Read More
6th February 2014 6:11am
Mike Dickert (Columbia, US) says...
Mary, my son goes to a inner city public school in Columbia, SC and I can tell you he can sit down and have a intelligent conversation about George W., pilgrims, and the puritans and many other topics. As far as faith, we as parents lead and teach him and do not depend on the school. If parents are involved, it does not matter where your children get educated.
6th February 2014 7:27am
Sandra (Columbus, US) says...
6th February 2014 8:15am
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
Thanks, Mike. I agree. The public school system is not where one's religious training belongs; otherwise it is not a "pubic" system where children from different faiths attend. Far too much blame is placed on the public school system when in fact the major influence is the home environment. With so many chaotic households, lack of discipline, single parents stressed from working two jobs, the school system is given an almost impossible task.
6th February 2014 9:01am
mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
Mike I agree hole heatedly with what you said! It came to my mind yesterday that the Lord sent us out into the world to spread his Holy name. He did not want us to hold up in a cocoon of safety. Yes we all need to stay close to our Christian brothers and sisters so that we can be renewed to go out again. I was a social worker in the school system for 28 years and my kids were there also. They got a well rounded education [in every aspect] and would come home and we would talk.They are better ... Read More
6th February 2014 9:12am
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
Thanks, Mary, for your comment. The public school system and what it teaches is today tied far too much to tests and preparing for tests. It is a matter of emphasis, but I assure you that George Washington, the Puritans, the Pilgrims remain today. God in the classroom? When I attended public schools [Michigan] starting in 1931, we had no opening prayer nor religious training--nor was it expected. That was the purpose of home and church.
6th February 2014 8:53am
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
Your remark that we could use a leader like Washington might have been in the spirit of any of our presidents that succeeded Washington should have more been like him. However, taken literally you imply that President Obama has neither the “intelligence or integrity” to lead the nation. If so, I don’t find it particularly useful in the context of your daily prayer and meditations. As stated previously, these comments in no way diminishes the value of your daily column for me and many ... Read More
5th February 2014 5:36pm
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
[continued] Unless one lives without newspapers, magazines, TV, radio or the internet, individuals at work and in daily life including our children are “immersed” in an environment of materialism and immorality. Your reference to suggest that the public school system is somehow a “bad” environment without a counterbalance of God seems to me to be highly misleading. In a response to a Victoria’s comment, you noted that George Washington was “unbelievable, truly a great man.” Then ... Read More
5th February 2014 5:34pm
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
Your Feb.4th comments on “Teach Your Children Well” states that atheism is “tacitly” taught in the public schools and that “Children are required to spend their days immersed in a culture of materialism and immorality, without any mention of God to counterbalance it.” As my late and much-missed wife of 63 years who worked for 30 years in the public school system, I have some understanding from her and her co-workers of the public school system and what is taught, enhanced by my ... Read More
5th February 2014 5:30pm
Suzanne (Indian River, US) says...
Patti - the 2 symbols below the song and above the lyrics will take you into u-tube to hear the songs. That is what I have to do everyday on my IPad. Hope that helps.
Mason, thank you for the instruction today about the Bible. Looking forward to the rest of it!
5th February 2014 9:01am
patti (US) says...
Thank you for the daily prayers. I have made it a habit to start every day with this site. I am however unable to listen to the music on my kindle fire hd. Does anyone know how to fix this problem?
5th February 2014 8:13am
helen timmler says...
Again, thank you for the music selection today Mason. Whitney's voice and the words reached the depths of my soul this morning. Beautiful!!
5th February 2014 6:06am
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