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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Daily Devotion for February 26, 2014

<i>Saint George and the Dragon</i> by Paolo Uccello, ca. 1470.
Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello, ca. 1470.



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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 Guidance

Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.

The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,


Because Of You

Because you picked me up, when I struggled to get through.
Because you healed my heart, when it was thrown and shattered.
Because you gave me hope, when it seemed so out of reach.
Because you filled me with peace, when chaos flowed through my veins.
Because you showed me the light, when there was only darkness.
Because you gave me comfort, when my voice cried out in pain.
Because you reassured me, when the doubts screamed in my head.
Because you kept me going, when there seemed nowhere to go.
Because you sustained me with strength, when weakness became all I knew.

Because you came and stayed, when everyone else turned around and left.
Because you gave me a purpose, when life seemed so pointless.
Because you restored my happiness, when life seemed to snatch it away.
Because you filled this emptiness, when the void echoed with loneliness.
Because you helped me let it all go, when I gripped the tightest to hold on.
Because you showed me the beauty of life, when the world showed me nothing but hate and corruption.
Because you gave me a better life, when the old one fought to come back.
Because I am nothing without you, nothing but a hopeless being.
Because only You could tear down my wall of pride, and instead build it back up with love and humbleness.

Because of all this, I give you my life Lord.
I will put all my fears and failures in Your hands, my worries that consume me, my pain that destroys me.
You were always there, even when I rejected You.
Because of all You are, my life, oh God, is yours.


Dedication to Faith in Christ

The Almighty Lord, who is a strong tower to all those who put their trust in him, to whom all things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, do bow and obey; Be now and evermore my defense; and make me know and feel, that there is no other Name under heaven given to man, in whom, and through whom, I may receive health and salvation, but only the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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

endless knot

Repeating History

There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the Sibylline Books. That long dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind.

~ Winston Churchill

Blue Latin Cross

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

The Evil of Conformity

Do not be conformed to this age [or world], but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Notes on the Scripture

Paul puts his finger on a major problem: Our instinct to conform to the world and current society is a major impediment to salvation.

There are three eternal truths about secular values: 1) They change constantly; 2) A large group of people always think that the current value system is the correct one; and 3) They are always wrong.

Small acts of conformity to the current age seem harmless, and they may be. But if they involve compromise with our standards as Christians, they are like tiny cuts in our skin. Usually these heal without any problem; we hardly notice them. But the world is teeming with bacteria, and every little cut opens a door to potential infection. How many people, in the physical world, have ultimately died from a scratch, from the minor bite of an insect, or from shaking hands with a sick person who did not mean to hurt them? Small compromises of our beliefs with secular culture are like these small cuts. The evil one will use little compromises of faith like disease uses a cut.

We see it in Christianity itself. There are people who want to rewrite the Bible to conform to whatever society they happen to live in. This started in the first century A.D. and has gone on constantly since. But the Bible is the Word of God, eternal and inerrant. One of its great strengths is the very fact that it does not change. It is the only fixed point by which we can set our moral compass. It is the anchor that ties humanity to God.

If we deny the Bible, if we arrogate to our minds the power to change it, then we leave every point of it open to change and disbelief. Our only source of knowledge of Christ is the Bible. And yes, people who think the Bible is subject to revision have frequently recast the very person of our Lord. The most notable example of this, recently, is the venal nonsense in The DaVinci Code. We must take to heart the words of John: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book . . . .” (Revelation 22:18)

Paul, having defined this problem, offers us the strategy to prevent it: transformation through the renewal of our mind so that we can discern God's will. “Testing” worldly values against God's Word; and if something the world tells us conflicts with the Word, rejecting it. Just as we must constantly repair our roof, we must constantly repair our knowledge of God's truth.

We must renew our mind with God's word, by prayer, by reading and listening to sources grounded in the Bible, by thinking about how the lessons we have learned apply to life. We must listen to the quiet voice the Holy Spirit, who will guide us if we don't let it be drowned out.

<i>Blessed Are the Peacemakers</i>, stained glass in Arlington Street Church, Boston, by Tiffany Studios, ca. 1902.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers, stained glass in Arlington Street Church, Boston, by Tiffany Studios, ca. 1902.

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1 John 2:4-5 (ESV): Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.

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