Daily Devotion for September 18, 2009
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 Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew 7:6-12
The Sermon on the Mount [Part 12] - Knock and the Door Will Open
Do not give that which is holy to dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine; for they might trample them underfoot, and turn and maul you.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Everyone that asks, receives; and he that seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
What man is there among you who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
All things that you would have men do to you, do to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Notes on the Scripture
Dogs and swine were notoriously unclean animals to the Hebrews; dogs were forbidden by law to enter a temple. Christ warns us not to bother giving good news to those who are so mired in sin that they simply cannot hear it.
The second idea, that "everyone who asks, receives", is the counterpoint of the first. Christ acknowledges the importance of free will in salvation, by looking at gifts from the point of both the giver and the recipient. Those who do not seek God's gifts will not receive them, and those who have something to give are mistaken in giving it to those who neither want it nor will use it.
Finally, in this passage, Christ states the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do to you. If you act like a dog or a pig, expect to be treated like one. We set our own standards for our lives. Both in the present world and in the world to come, doors do not open until we knock on them.