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Daily Devotion for August 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.
Sergei Rachmaninoff considered “All Night Vigil” his greatest work. Movement 2 (of 15), “Bless (or Praise) the Lord,” is based on an ancient Greek chant.
To the melody of a Greek chant, this movement interweaves alto solo (accompanied by low voices) with answering phrases by the upper voices of the chorus.
Gospodi Bozhe moy, vozvelichilsya yesi zelo.
Vo ispovedaniye i v velelepotu obleklsya yesi.
Na gorakh stanut vody.
Posrede gor proydut vodi.
Vsya premudrostiyu sotvoril yesi.
Hymn Before Prayer
I bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need:
Love towards God,
The affection of God,
The smile of God,
The wisdom of God,
The grace of God,
The fear of God,
And the will of God
To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each shade and light,
Each day and night,
Each time in kindness,
Give Thou us Thy Spirit.
My Lord God, creator of all that is, king of all who live, mighty in power and abundent in love beyond human imagination; I enter your presence in the sorrow of my sins against you, confessing all that I have done against your holy Word. I have offended you; I have harmed my neighbor; I have harmed myself. My attempts to hide my sin from others and to rationalize it to myself are futile: For you know all things.
I admit the sin I have tried to hide. And where I still cannot admit it, I ask your Holy Spirit to show it to me. I confess and deeply repent the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused to you, to others, to myself.
Forgive me for all of my sin, merciful God, through the mystery of salvation, by your grace that came through your only Son, Jesus Christ. From the bottom of my heart, I swear my love for Him. He is my Lord and my Savior, and I cast myself utterly upon your mercy in His name.
Holy God, from whom all thoughts of truth and love and peace proceed, and whose Son is rightly called the Prince of Peace; kindle in the hearts of all men the fire of longing for peaceful existence so powerful that they may never long to do violence against another. Guide with pure wisdom those who guide the nations of the earth and the many factions who may find disagreement, that your kingdom may go forward in tranquility and goodness, free of hatred and hostility, until the earth is filled with knowledge of your love. In the name of Christ, I pray,
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and throughout the week to come.
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.
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.
Acts 10:34-43 (ESV)
Then Peter began to speak to them:
“I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Notes on the Scripture
Judging others is contrary to Christian belief. Christ taught us this in no uncertain terms. For example, "Judge not, lest ye be judged". (Matthew 7:1-3)
It is a sin to judge other people; it is the sin of pride. When we do it, we puff ourselves up. Again, as Christ taught, we should not complain about a splinter in our neighbor's eye, but worry about the stake that is in our own eye.
When we judge others, we compare their exterior against our interior. Our interior is a poor guide, because it is human nature to justify oneself. People universally inflate the importance and truthfulness of their thoughts and biases.
On the other side of the coin, we cannot see into someone else's heart. The most devout people are those least likely to brag on their own deeds and attitudes. We judge or even dislike other people for the most ridiculous reasons. Their skin is a different color. They go to a different church. Our parents told us not to like them. A friend said something uncomplimentary about them.
Confession is a critical part of prayer. When we confess our sins, in whatever form we do it, we must remember instances when we have judged others. Let us pray for humility. This will gradually but surely lead us closer to God, and we will become more aware when we judge another person. And let us always keep in our heart Christ's promise: "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:14)