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Daily Devotion for November 19, 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.
This version of the wonderful ancient Gaelic hymn, Be Thou My Vision, is sung by the Martins.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou and Thou only, stay first in my heart,
Great God of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
Great God of Heaven, Thy victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Irish folk melody
(Gaelic) lyrics attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century
This version tr. by Mary Elizabeth Byrne and Eleanor H. Hull
To Be With God Today
Oh Father God who made me, open my eyes that I may see your hand in all of your works this day and most especially in those you have made in your image. Oh Lord Christ, open my heart that I may see your holy presence surrounding me; blanket me in an impenetrable luminous cloud of godly love. Oh Holy Spirit, let me hear your voice like the uninterrupted roar of a great waterfall that cannot be silenced and cannot be stopped and cannot be overcome by any temptation of flesh.
Draw my heart back to your love the instant I begin to hate. If I am proud, drown my pride in your glory. Teach me to be careful in nothing when it comes to you, Holy God, and let me know and shine forth the truth: that all things are possible in Your Son, Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
For Those Who Mourn
Almighty Holy Spirit of God, bringer of all mercies and giver of all comfort: Deal graciously, I pray, with all those who mourn [and especially ___], that case every care upon you, they may know the consolation of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
[Asking Christ to be my vision.]
Blessing of Mark
O Sovereign and almighty Lord, bless all your people, and all your flock. Give your peace, your help, and your love unto us your servants, the sheep of your fold, that we may be united in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one hope of our calling, in your divine and boundless love.
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.
We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.
~ Francis Chan
Exodus 20:13 (Young’s Literal Translation)
The Sixth Commandment
Thou dost not murder.
Notes on the Scripture
This phrase is rendered in just two words in the original Hebrew: "never murder". The King James translation, "thou shalt not kill", simply got it wrong. If one reads the Old Testament, interpreting this as a general prohibition against taking human life cannot be correct, anyway. Those who would argue against the death penalty, for example, need to look to the New Testament for their arguments.
Just to be crystal clear, Daily Prayer does not advocate for or against, or take any position concerning, capital punishment or any other political controversy. Our purpose is to read what is written without preconception, to derive the meaning from the Bible, rather than imposing our own biases upon it.
Reading Exodus, we study the law of Moses, and not just the Ten Commandments. The attitude towards taking human life is quite different from most of modern Western society. God prescribes the death penalty for numerous offenses; even more pointedly, in the early history books, He will allow or even encourage what we would call genocide. In the conquest of Canaan, where a city chose to fight against the Israelites, they were commanded to kill all the men (although they might take women and children as "plunder"). (Deuteronomy 20:10-18) In other cases, however, heathen women and children are put to the sword. (E.g. Numbers 31:7-18)
This raises a very basic issue of the origin of morality. Atheism has no regard for human life. It has no moral source. When Christ came along, the civilized world was the world of Rome, and the Romans certainly had no concept of any inherit sanctity in human life! This is an almost exclusively Christian concept.
Over the course of 2000 years, the prevailing Christian culture of Western Europe has, with painful slowness and difficulty, implanted the idea that killing people is immoral. It has sunk deeply into our cultural fabric.
One of the great stupidities of atheist thought is that this regard for human life will survive without its anchor to God. Probably a majority of the people in the west are post-Christian atheists. They will tell you that murder is wrong, but they have no concept of why they believe this.
And, in point of fact, where Christianity is repressed, regard for human life disappears. Three words prove this beyond argument: Mao, Stalin, and Hitler (in approximate order of number of people killed), who collectively have at least 100 million deaths to their credit.
We hold the lives of others as sacred because Christ tells us to do so, not because we are naturally good or moral. God is always right. If He told the Israelites to kill all the inhabitants in a town, He had a good reason. We cannot understand God's plan.
But here, at the dawn of morality sometime prior to 1000 B.C., God forbids us from committing murder, that it, an individual decision to take another human life for our own purpose. This has not changed, and there is never an exception in the Bible, Old Testament or New.