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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Daily Devotion for July 11, 2015


<i>Parable of the Rich Man</i>, Rembrandt ca. 1627
Parable of the Rich Man, Rembrandt ca. 1627. Rembrandt illustrates the parable of the rich fool, as told in Luke 12. At night a rich man studies one of his golden coins. In the early 17th century a stack of books was often used as a symbol of vanity. The Hebrew letters suggest a biblical setting.

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.



For a Cheerful Disposition in All I Do Today

Holy God, who has filled me with the joy of your grace and salvation, assist me this day that I may do all things I am called to do without grumbling or disputing. I call on your Spirit to assist me, that I may be blameless and innocent, a child of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.

Let me follow holy Christ and all his saints: Let me shine as a light, a beacon in a world where darkness seeks to overcome us in every thing and at every moment. And help me to hold fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ's return I may be proud that I did not strive in vain.

I pray this not for my own glory, but in all humility before you, to whom be all glory and honor,

Amen.

For Open Eyes

Lord Jesus, light of the world, open my eyes to notice the magnificence of creation. Open my eyes that I may always value and appreciate all who are part of my life. Open my eyes that I may be quick to notice when people are going through difficulties. Open my eyes so that I share your vision and see truly and deeply, outside of myself.

Amen.
*h4>Prayer of Thanks (from 1 Cor. 2)

Mighty Lord, there are marvelous things that I do not know, nor can I comprehend: things that happen in my life, and things that happen in my friends’ lives, and things that happen in the world. I pray to be thankful when I hear of all of them, to appreciate everything that comes across my path. So often life hurts, and I get angry or upset; I do not understand, yet you ask me to be thankful for everything, and have faith.

So I thank you now, Lord, for all those occasions when I have forgotten or have been so caught up in emotions that I could not. Help me to be thankful, I pray, when the rains come on the just and the unjust, that you care so much about me, that the rains come to chasten, to build character and godliness in me. And help me to live as a mirror of your Son, so that I might reach others.

Amen.

Meditation

[Help me to be thankful.]


Prayer of Resolve

I  bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.

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

Psalm 3:1-4 (NIV)

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:15 (Darby Translation)

The Eighth Commandment

Thou shalt not steal.


Notes on the Scripture

There is a strong tendency, in groups of profoundly dedicated Christians, towards communalism. In fact, some the most dedicated Christians — monks and nuns — take vows of poverty and live an absolutely communal life, not owning even the clothes on their back. But outside of monasteries, these communal experiments have been failures.

drawing of a monk at prayer

It would make sense that Christians, whose lives becomes so centered on the Spirit that mammon becomes a burden, would gravitate toward socialist existence; but what makes sense often conflicts with truth, and this seems to be an example. Large-scale socialist societies have almost universally been characterized by atheism, ranging from the rather lackadaisical scorn for religion in much of northern Europe to the aggressive persecution of Christianity in Marxist countries. Indeed, the increasingly socialist United States is experiencing a concomitant rise of outspoken anti-Christian sentiment.

The Bible does not condemn or even discourage socialism. Nor does it promote it. In fact, if one were to sum up the New Testament's attitude toward politics, it would be "stay out of it." The prohibitions against theft in the Old Testament definitely presuppose, without criticism, a society where individuals may own land and items worth stealing. This becomes more apparent as one reads farther into Exodus, especially in Exodus 22:1-14, which greatly fleshes out the laws regarding property and theft.

Paul — and almost certainly, Christ Himself — worked to make money. But then, we have Christ telling us that it is easier for a "camel to pass through the eye of a needle" than for a rich man to go to heaven, and advising a rich man to give away all that he own. (Matthew 19:24)

So, what is the point of all of this? God understands human life and expects us to make and enjoy our living. There is no sin in it, and no sin in owning property. It is where we begin to love money that we fall from the path. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation." (1 Timothy 6:2-11)

The Eighth Commandment — because it is so strongly emphasized — seems to imply that theft is an even faster road to spiritual ruin than wanting to get rich. This in no respect conflicts with the New Testament: Theft places ownership of goods ahead of our love for our neighbor and, thus, our love for Christ. It embroils a lot of people in controversy over earthly goods. So let us not covet the rich, or despise them, or judge them, or think it all right to steal from them. We must love all, rich and poor alike.



Judas silver
Judas Receiving Thirty Pieces of Silver, Detail of Ivory Diptych, French, 14th Century

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Romans 12:3 (ESV): For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.


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