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Daily Devotion for June 23, 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.
There is something especially wonderful about hearing this great old hymn sung by adolescent female voices.
comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
'twixt that darkness and that light.
By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv'ries ever
with the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
who would keep abreast of truth.
Morning Prayer (George Washington)
O Lord our God, most mighty and merciful father, I, your unworthy creation and servant, once more approach your presence. Though not worthy to appear before you, because of the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against your divine majesty; yet I pray you, for the sake of him in whom you are well pleased, the Lord Jesus Christ, to let me give you thanks and praise for your many and varied mercies extended toward me, for the quiet rest and repose of the past night, for food, clothing, health, peace, liberty, and the hopes of a better life through the merits of your dear son's bitter passion.
And O kind Father, continue your mercy and favor to me this day, and always; give resolution to all my lawful undertakings; let me have all my directions from your Holy Spirit; and success from your bountiful hand. Let the bright beams of your light so shine into my heart, and enlighten my mind in understanding your blessed word, that I may be enabled to perform your will in all things, and effectively resist all temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Preserve and defend our rulers in church and state. Bless the people of this land, be a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the comfortless, a deliverer to the captives, and a physician to the sick. Let your blessings guide me and all of us, this day and forever, through Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray.
Prayer for Those Who Have Served in War
God of compassion, God of dignity and strength, watch over the veterans of our blessed nation who have served with loyalty and at great sacrifice. Bless them with wholeness and love. Shelter those who are in want, heal those who bear wounds, comfort the hearts of those who have lost friends and family, and bring peace to all who are haunted by the terrible memories of war.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want. Grant them lives of joy and bounty. And may their dedication and honor, which have shielded us from tyranny, be remembered as a blessing from generation to generation.
[My contempt for the proud.]
Oh Lord as I face creation
Let me see with eyes made clear
By Your promise of salvation,
Never to return to fear.
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 123 (NKJV)
Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!
For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
Our soul is exceedingly filled
With the scorn of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.
Galatians 5:16-17 (DP Bible)
16-20 Walk in the Spirit and do not indulge the instincts of your flesh. The flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit sets its desire against the flesh. Therefore, you cannot follow the desires of your lower nature, because it is contrary to the Spirit. Those under the Law follow the flesh, even though they try to fight it; but those under the Spirit will not follow the flesh.
16 So I tell you, walk in the spirit and in no way fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
17 For the flesh desires contrary to the spirit, and the spirit contrary to the flesh, for these are opposed to one another, so that you might not do whatever you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to law.
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
Internalizing the Struggle Between Good and Evil (Galatians #61)
When we left off yesterday, we had begun to talk about the conflict between good and evil as they struggle for our thoughts, our minds, and the ownership of our souls. Under the Law, the Israelites sought to change their actions to conform to an external set of laws, the laws of God. (This included sacrifices made in atonement for wrong conduct.) But the very nature of this struggle changed in character when the Holy Spirit indwelled us.
Before fleshing out the difference, let’s examine an interesting side-effect of the Bible. While they do not realize it, naive atheists and agnostics who are “good” people, who wants to “do the right thing,” are inadvertently living under a second-hand version the Law of Moses. Their society took its values from the Bible and they have unconsciously adopted, as their own, a watered-down moral code based upon it.
They do not grasp the fundamental nature of Jesus Christ and thus treat Him as a legalist rather than a savior. Their naiveté as to the source of their personal values is astonishing. Do they think that people just adopt moral values out of innate goodness? Consider the difference between the West and China or Japan when it comes to taking human life, or slavery. For that matter, look at the difference between the Jews at the time of Christ and the Romans and Greeks. The idea that taking human life or holding another as a slave might be immoral in and of itself was nonsense to the Romans.
This is not to diminish the huge hypocrisy one finds, continually, in the Judeo-Christian world. The church itself became terribly corrupt after Constantine co-opted Christianity in the 4th century. But the outcry against the hypocrisy is proof that the morality exists. Consider how much louder the outrage is, today, against Hitler's murder of six million Jews, or chattel slavery in the U.S. before 1865; and then compare these to the mild reaction against Stalin or Mao, who each murdered at least fifty million people, or Japanese enslavement of Koreans in the mid 20th century.
But, to get back to the main point of today's Scripture, Christianity changed the very character of the struggle between good and evil within an individual. We do not struggle between our own will and the rules God has given us. The Christian’s struggle is entirely internal, to the degree it is Christian. The good lies within us. Our struggle is between two internal desires, those of the Spirit within us and those of our flesh, rather than between our natural desires and conformance to an external code, which we will be punished for transgressing.
It is a very hard distinction to see, in practical terms, until we grasp the sign that one is living in the Spirit, rather than living by the Law: A mature Christian tries to do good, but does not feel guilty when he fails. He feels remorse; but guilt is an emotion of the flesh. As we come to know Christ better and better, we are more and more driven by love rather than guilt: Love of God and love of our fellow human being. In psychological terms, our growth in faith is characterized by a complete, 100% internalization of morality. A sin committed in secret and a sin discovered and published to the world are not different to us.
This ties into the notion of being reborn in Christ. We might say that when we accept Christ, our reborn self is an infant. And like a human infant, a spiritual infant grows in size, strength, and knowledge as he or she matures.