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Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Daily Devotion for June 20, 2015


<i>Pietà</i> by Michelangelo, ca. 1499
Pietà by Michelangelo, ca. 1499, perhaps the most-loved statue in Christendom. It rests in an alcove of St. Peter’s Basilica. (See full-size)

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Saturday is Oldies day at Daily Prayer; and although the recording isn't so old, the song takes us back to pre-War Country radio.




Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning

I  give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.

Amen.

Prayer of Contrition, Remembering the Passion of Christ

O  Jesus! You have proved that you have no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men. I recall all the sufferings of your life especially your passion.

I remember, O Lord, that during the last supper with your disciples, having washed their feet, you gave them your most precious body and blood, and, while consoling them, you foretold your coming passion. I remember the sadness and bitterness which you experienced in your soul as you said, “my soul is sorrowful even unto death.”

I remember all the fear, anguish and pain that you did suffer in your delicate body before the torment of your crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, you were betrayed by Judas, arrested by the people of a nation you had chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses and unjustly judged by three judges.

I remember that you were despoiled of your garments and clothed in those of derision, that your face and eyes were covered, that you were beaten, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in your hands, that you were crushed with blows and overwhelmed with insults and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which you endured before your passion on the cross, grant me before my death a true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins.

Amen.

Meditation

[The desire of Christ to be in our lives.]


Doxology

And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Amen.


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.



endless knot

Proverbs 11:2 (ESV)

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 12:33-37 (ESV)

A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”


Notes on the Scripture

Today's Scripture includes two colorful analogies that should sound familiar. John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers” during his early ministry, as recounted in Matthew 3; and Christ delivered a memorable passage, “by their fruits you shall know them,” in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:15-20), teaching us how to distinguish false prophets from true. In fact, John the Baptist also used the “good fruits” analogy:

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. . . . Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Soteriology — the five-dollar word for the theology of salvation, the way in which we intellectually conceive how we might be saved from our sins — has a basic division into “justification by faith” and “justification by works”.

Almost all Christian theologians teach that we cannot achieve salvation by good works; we are saved by our faith alone. God, through his Son, will forgive us for our sins if we believe in him. And there is much Scripture underlying the concept. Certainly, we cannot be saved simply by our own merits, without God's grace.

Here is the problem: Our actions still matter. The Bible's actual teachings on justification by “works” vs. “faith” defy human logic. There are, indeed, parts of the Bible that are logically irreconcilable with either position. When the rich young man asks Jesus, “what good deed must I do to earn eternal life?” Jesus tells him, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments. . . You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, . . .” (Matthew 19:16-22)

And James tells us,

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? . . . [F]aith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-26)

In today's Scripture, Jesus tells us, “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”. It is not our place to twist this simple statement into the procrustean bed of theology. The Bible must be read. The Word of God must be taken straight, because we begin to go wrong the moment we try to bend it to our logic.



Madonna and Child, Luca della Robbia ca. 1450.

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“ Who Is Your Directional Aid? ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV): [T]he Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”



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