Daily Devotion for June 18, 2015
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.
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.
Music and Lyrics by George Bennard, 1910
A Child's Prayer
For Morn, my dome of blue,
For Meadows, green and gay,
And Birds who love the twilight of the leaves,
Let Jesus keep me joyful when I pray.
For the big Bees that hum
And hide in bells of flowers;
For the winding roads that come
To Evening’s holy door,
May Jesus bring me grateful to his arms,
And guard my innocence for evermore.
Father, so many divisions and disputes have been generated by issues, practices and traditions that are not part of the fundamentals of the faith. Your Church is a glorious unity in diversity, but when we major on the minors, the spirit of factionalism replaces that of unity and peace. I ask for the boldness and courage to stand up and contend for the essentials of the faith, even if it means a lack of peace.
I do not want to compromise the truth of the gospel for the sake of peace. But I also ask for the graciousness to demonstrate kindness and tolerance for believers who disagree with me about the non-essentials. I acknowledge that there are some things that are not clear enough in Your revelation for us to understand fully, but these are not the clearly revealed core issues of the faith. In all things, may I be loving and gracious to others.
[All of the doctrinal issues, created by men, which separate Christians from one another.]
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 96:7-10 (NKJV)
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, "The Lord reigns."
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Exodus 22:1-6 (The Message)
Responsibility for Your Actions
Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.
Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft. If the stolen animal is found alive in their possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—they must pay back double.
If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else’s field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard.
If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.
Notes on the Scripture
ne notable aspect of the Old Testament is a code of specific laws that were given to the ancient Hebrews. Most of these laws, especially concerning forms of worship and specific penalties are no longer followed literally, except in the most Orthodox of Jewish communities. Many of them, however, are very close to our modern civil and criminal laws.
Politics, law, and religion were integrated for the Hebrews. There was only one set of laws that applied to every facet of life. Today, in the West, these are considered separate spheres of activity, but the Hebrew law influences in every aspect of our lives, even after 3,000 years.
One great general principle can be seen in the passage quoted today: we must be responsible for damage that we do, either directly (such as by stealing) or indirectly (such as keeping an animal that eats someone's garden). It is natural for a person to try to avoid punishment and loss; and life teaches us that we can often avoid punishment and loss by shirking responsibility.
If we are driving and hit a parked car in an isolated spot, how tempting is it just to drive away? Very! And our minds can create rationalizations with such brilliance and creativity. His insurance will pay for it. He was parked wrong. Her brand new Mercedes is so much more expensive than my old junker, she can afford it and she'll rip me off on the repairs. The reasons that people can invent to avoid the consequences of their action are uncountable.
But we must remember two things. First, earthly goods are an illusion; becoming too attached to them is a barrier between us and God. We do not put our faith in earthly goods, "where moth and rust doth corrupt,"; we accumulate our treasure in heaven, "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."
And second, love of money and sinful pride — the two things that drive us to deny responsibility when we have cause some sort of damage — are two of the most basic sins that we suffer from. Both pride and love of money are highlighted in the Bible as the cause of many evils.