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Daily Devotion for November 17, 2015


<i>Going to Church</i> by William H. Johnson, ca. 1939
Going to Church by William H. Johnson, ca. 1939. Johnson was a remarkably talented primitive artist, whose difficult life bears some resemblance to Van Gogh’s. (See full-size)

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.




Prayer of St. Patrick

Lord, be with me and all who love you, this day:
Within us to purify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us.
In Christ's name I pray,

Amen.

For Renewal of the Holy Spirit

O  Lord, renew in our own days your miracles like a second Pentecost. Grant that the Church, re-united in prayer, may extend the kingdom of Jesus - a kingdom of truth and justice, of love and peace.

Amen.

Prayer to Give Witness When Called Upon

Oh my God, I wish I could convert as many lost souls as there are grains of sand in the sea, as many as there are leaves on the trees, plants in the fields, atoms in the air, stars in the sky, rays in the sun or the moon, creatures on the face of the earth. Loose my tongue Oh God that it may never be still in the face of embarrassment or hostility; put your words upon it, that I might serve you and know what to say, that I may never be at a loss of words when I am called upon to help those who seek you. And let me speak always in love and respect of others, this day and always,

Amen.

Meditation

[What passage of the Bible bothers me the most?]


Benediction

Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.

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.



Children praying in South Africa
Brother and sister: Sunday in South Africa

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand."

~ Mark Twain


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:8-11 (The Voice)

The Fourth Directive (Commandment)
Eternal One:

You and your family are to remember the Sabbath Day; set it apart, and keep it holy. You have six days to do all your work, but the seventh day is to be different; it is the Sabbath of the Eternal your God. Keep it holy by not doing any work — not you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, or any outsiders living among you.

For the Eternal made the heavens above, the earth below, the seas, and all the creatures in them in six days. Then, on the seventh day, He rested. That is why He blessed the Sabbath Day and made it sacred.


Notes on the Scripture

The Voice

The Voice, published in 2011-2012, is one of the more successful new translations meant to present the Bible in modern vernacular, to make it more accessible to the 21st century reader. It emphasizes the storytelling aspect of the Bible. Perhaps its oddest formatting choice is that dialogue is punctuated as if it is a screenplay. Thus, today's passage has the name of the character (God, whom The Voice calls "Eternal One" in this passage) followed by a colon, and then the quote without quotation marks. It also calls the commandments "directives"; this may not be a great choice of words, but actually, neither was "commandments".

The Sabbath

Since we have had a number of discussions about keeping the Sabbath (most recently October 28, March 21), we don't need to cover the same ground here. Suffice it to say, few of us make even a really good-faith effort to follow the spirit of this "directive". We allow secular society undermine our obedience to God; it is the path of least resistance. Are we out of milk? I'll just run to the store real quick. Whether or not buying a quart of milk violates the commandment, we commit the modern-day equivalent of allowing our servant to work: We employ, vicariously, the grocery-store clerks who work in the store.

W

e have a very different attitude about, say, committing murder. And yet, the commandment to keep the Sabbath came before the commandment not to kill or steal or commit adultery; and not just higher up in the Ten Commandments. God imposed the obligation on the Israelites by force, long before they reached Mount Sinai. Exodus 16:22-30

We might well conclude that God's priorities are different than those of the secular society we live in; who knows God's mind? He might take as much umbrage at a person going into the office on Sunday as He does at a person committing murder. The idea sounds as shocking and unlikely to me as it does to you; but at the very least, we must realize that the commandment is written in clear and unambiguous language, repeatedly, throughout the Bible. God means us to take it seriously.

The Hebrews certainly followed the commandment with extreme particularity (and some still do). It is our chance to show God that we sincerely love Him "with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind." Do we love God more than our lawn? Then why do we mow the grass on Sunday? Do we love God more than our car? Then why do we wash our car on Sunday?

Right now, while the subject is fresh in our mind, is a good chance to make a resolution on this subject. Am I going to live in faith, or am I going to live in convenience? For when we begin to refuse to do things on Sunday (or the Sabbath, either one will do) that conflict with this very central commandment from God, we cannot help but increase our life in the Spirit.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Who Is The Lord To You? ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV): [Christ] has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.



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