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Daily Devotion for September 17, 2014
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.
These three modern settings of Mary’s Song are charmingly (and appropriately) simple and pretty; the first singer, Annie Karto, is a dead ringer for Judy Collins. I'm not sure who does the middle one, but the last one is by Jackie François.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, who taught the hearts of all faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit; Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day. I pray in the name of my beloved Lord, Jesus Christ,
Prayer for the Angry
Dear heavenly Father, I pray this day for all angry, hostile people, all those filled with hate for their fellow creatures; for violent criminals who harm the body, for those who hurt their family members, for bullies on playgrounds and sadists in charge of others; and for the many more who, through their angry words, ideas, and grudges, promote discord, misunderstanding and violence, and especially all those who contribute to the great wars that kill and hurt so many.
Dear God, show them the beauty of your peace and grant that they may love others so much that they cannot bear to harm them, both for their own sake and that of those they hurt. And help their many victims, saving them, comforting them, and granting them to know your Son Jesus Christ so well that they can forgive. In whose name I pray,
[How much the world is damaged by hatred.]
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.
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.
Psalm 139:7-10 (NKJV)
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
Hebrews 11:8-16 (ESV)
The Fruits of Faith
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old — and Sarah herself was barren — because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul returns to Abraham several times in his epistle to the Hebrews, drawing parallels between Abraham's history and the new life he asks the Hebrews to accept, a new life in Christ. Hebrews gives us a spectacular introduction to the Abraham metaphor in today's Scripture: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” This could be from the beginning of a great adventure novel or a history of a famous explorer. It certainly applies to millions of immigrants who left their home countries to come to the United States.
Abraham would have been known to almost every Jew in the first century AD; he was the founder of their faith and their race, as central to their history as say George Washington is to an American. So when Paul lists the actions Abraham took “by faith”, they are immediately familiar to the Hebrews. He wants the Hebrews to accept the Good News by faith just as Abraham accepted so many things by faith. Abraham's faith yielded enormous rewards. Just so, Paul wants to convince the Hebrews that the rewards they will receive by accepting Christ will be immeasurable.