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Daily Devotion for August 11, 2015
A masterpiece of the mature Renaissance. Notice the early use of perspective, in the Umbrian countryside seen through the center arch. The identify of the secondary figures is speculative. The two female figures to the left are said to represent angels, but it is interesting to speculate: I like to think of them as the two other Marys who went to the tomb.
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.
Have I Done Any Good? An inspiring message from Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert, as they perform an updated version of an old hymn.
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Text and music: Will L. Thompson, 1887.
For the Day's Work
O God, who orders all things in heaven and earth: Help me to go about the tasks and duties of this day with the remembrance that I am your servant therein. Make me honest, painstaking, and cheerful, and grant that all I do and say may bring good to others and glory to your Holy Name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer to Forgive Lack of Faith
Heavenly Father, you have told us that we must hate the things of this world, and love the things of heaven; and yet like Paul, I do what I do not want to do. I love you Lord, deep in my heart, but my mind and my days explode with obsession over the things of this world. I cannot seem to shake my love of power, money, lust, my reputation, my comfort, my possessions -- myself. I put the world before you, blessed Father, time after time, and time again.
Will you save me, Lord, for that one little spark of love for you, that absolute tiny atom of faith in Christ, that remains even at my darkest hour of sin? If you will not, I will love you anyway. If I go to hell, I will go to hell loving you and blessing your name. But I am filled with hope of your mighty and unfathomable grace and with confidence in the unlimited power of the love of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
Let me love you in the confidence of your Holy Spirit, I pray, that I may serve you as best I can, out of love for you; and knowing that I am incapable of perfection, to worship your grace and forgiveness.
[Loving God in the confidence of the Holy Spirit.]
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
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.
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (ESV)
When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
Galatians 5:19-21 (Daily Prayer Bible)
19-21, 26 You know perfectly well what I mean when I speak of indulging the “desires of the flesh”: things like sexual immorality, impurity of mind, indecency, worship of false gods, witchcraft, hatred, quarrelling, jealousy, bad temper, rivalry, factionalism, carousing, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like that. None of us should be ambitious for our own reputation, or seek our own glory, or indulge our vanity; such motives just make us jealous of one another. As I have told you before, those who indulge the desires of the flesh will never inherit God’s kingdom.
19 Now, the works of the flesh are well-known, including fornication, impurity, indecent conduct,
20 idolatry, making potions, hostilities, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, factionalism, dogma,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things, which I warn you about now just as I warned you before: those practicing such acts will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
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
The literal translation of the Greek expression Paul uses in Gal. 5:20 is “making potions.” But here, the most literal translation, while interesting, is misleading, because Paul actually means witchcraft in general; the term “potion-making” had come to stand for all sorts of sorcery by the 1st century A.D., just as we might used the term “die by the sword” to mean “die in battle,” whether or not an actual sword is involved, or say we are “breaking bread” with someone, when we are actually eating lasagna. (The grammatical term for this is metonymy: the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated .)
Human beings have an innate tendency to credit unseen, unknown, supernatural causes to phenomenon that they cannot explain. Like almost every human drive or instinct, God seems to have had a specific purpose for it; and like all of our God-given drives and instincts, it is good when used as intended, but becomes sinful when used wrongly.
Our instinctive understanding of the supernatural — that we cannot see or even understand all of the forces that shape perceived reality — calls us to God. It is the part of our nature that calls us to the unseen, by which we might develop faith in an invisible power. When perverted, it can lead people to all sorts of destructive beliefs. Ancient Canaanites would burn babies alive inside statues of Moloch, which were equipped with an oven. And Christians are hardly strangers to abuse of supernatural belief. Christian witch hunts have no doubt been responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people.
The Western world today has ceased executing people as witches, driven by superstitious hysteria, but there is plenty of superstitious sin still with us. Newspapers (the few that are left) still have a Daily Horoscope. And there are simpler superstitions: fear of the number 13, walking under ladders, black cats, etc. Paul teaches the freedom of Christ extensively in Galatians, and here is one area where Christ’s freedom is tangible. When we find Christ, we can use our faith to clean our mental closet of all those nutty little superstitions.
We are born seeking God, as surely as the shoot from a tulip bulb seeks the sun. The day we find Christ is like the day a tulip shoot breaks through the soil and finds the sun shining upon it, giving it life. And to extend the analogy even further, believing in astrology or following witchcraft is like a tulip shoot that goes sideways, or hits a large stone, or is tangled in the roots of a tree. The tulip lives only as long as its food supply lasts, and dies; but the tulip that finds the sun, like a person who finds the Son, will live.