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Daily Devotion for September 17, 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.
Dottie Rambo did not have much voice left when this was recorded (a few years before her death in 2008), but it is a special to hear her sing one of the 2,500 songs she wrote along with Vestal Goodman.
The holy hills of heaven call me
to mansions bright across the sea,
where loved ones wait and crowns are given,
the hills of home keep calling me.
This house of flesh is but a prison
bars of bone hold my soul,
but the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open
when the angels set my spirit free,
I’ll take my flight like the mighty eagle
when the hill of home start calling me.
I see loved ones over yonder,
tears are gone and hearts are free,
and from the throne my Savior beckons,
and the hills of home keep calling me.
Music and Lyrics by Dottie Rambo.
Prayer for Morning
Holy Jesus I am coming and coming to you, because you are my only refuge, my only certainty, my only hope. You are the remedy for all my ills, the comfort for all my miseries, the reparation for all my faults, the supplement for all that is wanting in me, the certainty of all my questions, the infallible and unfailing, inexhaustible source for me of light, of strength, of constancy, of peace and of blessing.
I am sure that you will never leave me and you will not stop loving me, you will never tire of helping me and of protecting me, because you love me with an infinite love.
Have pity on me, Lord, according to your great mercy; and make of me, in me, and for me, all that you wish. Because I abandon myself to you with full and entire confidence that you will never abandon me.
Prayer for Those in Their Final Days
Heavenly Father, I know that all men will die, for this is the nature of life and the cost of sin. I pray for those who are in their last days. Those with cancer, or heart disease, or kidney disease, or malnutrition, or who are grieved by any of the countless diseases and traumas that bring us to our final rest. I know your sympathy for us, for through your Son, you have agonized exactly as we do; by his willing sacrifice, he gave us eternal assurance that you understand our fear and pain.
Bless those in fear of death this day, I pray. Send your Holy Spirit to console and comfort them and those who love them. Let them know the assurance of the wonderful eternity we will know, and bring them peace in their final days. In the name of the limitless love of Christ, I pray,
For the Departed
O Father of all, I pray to you for those whom I love, but see no longer. Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and in your loving wisdom and almighty power work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
[May my every word be a prayer.]
Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.
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.
Take a Break
Come now . . . fly for a moment from your affairs, escape for a little while from the tumults of your thoughts. Put aside now your weighty cares and leave your wearisome toils. Abandon yourself for a little to God and rest for a little in him.
~ Anselm of Canterbury (1088 A.D.)
Exodus 8:16-19 (The Message)
The Third Plague: Gnats (Strike Three: Gnats)
God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and strike the dust. The dust will turn into gnats all over Egypt.’”
He did it. Aaron grabbed his staff and struck the dust of the Earth; it turned into gnats, gnats all over people and animals. All the dust of the Earth turned into gnats, gnats everywhere in Egypt.
The magicians tried to produce gnats with their incantations but this time they couldn’t do it. There were gnats everywhere, all over people and animals.
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s doing.” But Pharaoh was stubborn and wouldn’t listen. Just as God had said.
Notes on the Scripture
A Bit About Bible Translations
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language was translated from the Greek and Hebrew by Eugene H. Peterson; he published it piecemeal for eight years, finishing in eight years. The language is so informal that it often sounds like slang. His purpose was "to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn't read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become 'old hat'."
The Message is not very accurate; Petersen was trying to create a document that would stimulate and encourage more than one that would be useful as a theological tool. All Bible translators face a tension between accuracy and readability, called the "dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum". The Message falls at the extreme end of the "dynamic" side. In fact, Petersen himself admits to being a bit uneasy when a passage from The Message is read in church as teachable Scripture.
I hated it when I first read it, but I have gradually come to realize what Petersen meant by having a translation that might shake up people who were getting a bit jaded. Now, I get a kick out of it. The passage today is actually reasonably accurate, enough to learn the lesson of the verses fully.
"Strike Three: Gnats"
The third plague shows a clear progression in the nature of the signs given to, and inflicted upon, Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The frogs were irritating, but they did not physically attack people. The gnats go a step further, because they actually assault the body, getting into people's eyes and noses. It is not a serious assault; the gnats do no harm. But still, there is a distinct difference between making the environment less comfortable, as in the first two plagues, and directly attacking people's bodies.
The plague is also now higher-level, because it cannot even be reproduced by Pharaoh's magicians, much less reversed or stopped. God is giving Pharaoh the chance to relent with a minimum amount of damage, raising the bar one step at a time. It is an Old Testament form of "progressive discipline".