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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Daily Devotion for March 30, 2014

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<i>Pentecost (detail)</i>  by El Greco (Spanish), ca.1596.
Pentecost (detail) by El Greco (Spanish), ca.1596.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to a remarkably beautiful British cathedral, but I'm not sure which one. (Perhaps someone can tell us in the Comments section. My best guess is Wells, but I think I'm wrong.)


The Great Prayer for Sunday (by Archimandrite Sophronios)

O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things,
Who of Thy inscrutable goodness called me to this life;
Who bestowed on me the grace of Baptism and the Seal of the Holy Spirit;
Who imbued me with the desire to seek Thee, the one true God: hear my prayer.
I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom; no strength except in Thee, O God.
Because of my unrighteousness I dare not raise my eyes to Thee.
But Thou said to Thy disciples, 'Whatsoever you shall ask in prayer believing, you shall receive.'
and 'Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do.'

Wherefore I dare to invoke Thee.
Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit.
Teach me to pray aright.
Bless this day which Thee give unto me, Thy unworthy servant.
By the power of Thy blessing enable me at all times to speak and act to Thy glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom: aware always of Thy presence.
Of Thy immense goodness, O Lord God, show me the path of Thy will,
and grant me to walk in Thy sight without sin.

O Lord, unto Whom all hearts be open,
Thee know what things I have need of.
Thee are acquainted with my blindness and my ignorance,
Thee know my infirmity and my soul's corruption;
but neither are my pain and anguish hid from Thee.

Wherefore I beseech Thee, hear my prayer and by Thy Holy Spirit
teach me the way wherein I should walk;
and when my perverted will would lead me down other paths
spare me not O Lord, but force me back to Thee.
By the power of Thy love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good.
Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul;
from every impulse unpleasing in Thy sight and hurtful to my brother-man.
Teach me what I should say and how I should speak.
If it be Thy will that I make no answer,
inspire me to keep silent in a spirit of peace
that causes neither sorrow nor hurt to my fellow man.

Establish me in the path of Thy commandments
and to my last breath let me not stray from the light of Thy ordinances,
that Thy commandments may become the sole law
of my being on this earth and all eternity.

Yea, Lord, I pray to Thee, have pity on me.
Spare me in my affliction and my misery
and hide not the way of salvation from me.
In my foolishness, O God, I plead with Thee for many and great things.
Yet am I ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness.
Have mercy upon me.

Cast me not away from your presence because of my presumption.
Do Thee rather increase in me this presumption,
and grant unto me, the worst of men,
to love Thee as Thee have commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul,
and with all my mind, and with all my strength:
with my whole being.

Yea, O Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit, teach me good judgment and knowledge.
Grant me to know Thy truth before I go down into the grave.
Maintain my life in this world until I may offer unto Thee worthy repentance.
Take me not away in the midst of my days, nor while my mind is still blind.
When Thee shall be pleased to bring my life to an end,
forewarn me that I may prepare my soul to come before Thee.

Be with me, O Lord, at that dread hour and grant me the joy of salvation.
Cleanse me from secret faults, from all iniquity that is hidden in me;
and give me a right answer before Thy judgment-seat.
Yea, Lord, of Thy great mercy and immeasurable love for mankind.
Amen.

Benediction

Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Amen.


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


endless knot

Mindset

Our mindset when we sin is not that we hate God, just that we forget God.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Blue Latin Cross

Romans 12:16[b] (ESV)

The Conceit of Our Thoughts

Never be wise in your own sight.


Notes on the Scripture

Here is a message we can understand, because we see it so often in other people! The King James translation adds a dimension to it: “Be not wise in your own conceits.” And The Message really gets to the point: “Don’t think that you’re so smart.”

The sin of pride is embedded in human nature. We think that whatever is in our mind is true, no matter how it got there. If others think something different, they are wrong. If somebody tries to teach us something that we don't want to be true, we refuse to listen to them. We are all, in a word, closed-minded.

lighthouse, light unto the nations

And unfortunately, nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in reading the Bible. To paraphrase an old joke, most people use the Bible like a drunk uses a lamppost: For support, rather than illumination. But God knows what is true and what isn't; and if we apply our closed-mindedness to the Bible, we sin.

And it is not just us laymen. No church that I know of is free from this problem. Every church either ignores, or “interprets” beyond recognition, the plain meaning of some part of the Bible, and most often will omit embarrassing passages from worship services.

Our “Memory Verse” for this week is directly on point here. To give the complete quote:

“You must not be called ‘Teacher,’ because you are all equal and have only one Teacher. And you must not call anyone here on earth ‘Father,’ because you have only the one Father in heaven. Nor should you be called ‘Leader,’ because your one and only leader is the Messiah. The greatest one among you must be your servant. Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great. ” (Matthew 23:8-11, Good News Trans.)

People will tell you that the Bible says what they want it to say rather than what it actually says. But we must read it for ourselves. And we should not read it seeking to justify our preconceptions, but with an open mind. Our purpose, first and foremost, is to learn where we are wrong or ignorant.

This is what Christ meant when he said “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) Or again the first words of the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) We must strive to be like children, our minds emptied of preconceptions and eager to be taught, for this is the opposite of being “wise in our own sight”.



Light of the World by William Holman Hunt, ca. 1854.

This very early Preraphaelite allegory shows Christ knocking on a door, disused and overgrown with vines. It references Revelation 3:20 — “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”


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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 23:10-12 (CEB): Don’t be called teacher, because Christ is your one teacher. But the one who is greatest among you will be your servant. All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up.


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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon





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