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Daily Devotion for November 20, 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.
A very fine rendition of the aria, “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth”, from Handel’s Messiah. The text is from Job 19:25–26. Soprano Lynne Dawson with the Brandenburg Consort.
Prayer for the Day Ahead
Who can tell what a day might bring? Therefore, gracious God, cause me to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I cannot know that it is not. Help me to live this day as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Prayer to Put My Trust in Christ
Oh Holy Christ, Son of God and King of all humanity, I bring to you my hurts, my fears, my disappointments; I am filled with worries about my health, about money, about my place in the world, and about the health and safety of my loved ones. The struggles, the cruelties, and the tribulations of this life sometimes seem unfair and overwhelming. I cannot handle them alone, my Lord; I lay them at your feet.
You have promised to shoulder our burdens, Lord Jesus, and I am taking you up on your promise. I give myself to you, with all my emotional baggage. Teach me to lean upon you, to trust you, to know that in your ultimate victory, all of my fears will prove illusory, and my pains, short-lived.
Do not leave me to suffer alone, Lord; do not turn your face away. Forgive me my every sin and take me to your bosom, for I am your child and I know you love me. This I pray in your name, whose every word is truth,
[I cannot handle my problems alone.]
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
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.
Psalm 10:16-18 (NKJV)
The Lord is King forever and ever;
The nations have perished out of His land.
Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,
To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Exodus 20:14 (ESV)
The Seventh Commandment
You shall not commit adultery.
Notes on the Scripture
Adultery to the Israelites, 3500 years ago, meant exactly what it means today: A married person having sexual relations with somebody other than his or her spouse. Both commit the sin, even if one is single.
There is no fudging allowed. The Bible does not allow the first pebble to tumble down the sliding heap of sexual morality. If a person's husband or wife has sexual problems, or will not have sex with them, or is away from home for a year, or acts so badly that the very sight of them is odious to their spouse, or whatever: there is no "but" clause. (Although even Christ would allow divorce of a partner who has committed adultery. Matthew 19:1-12)
The commandment does not deal with other aspects of sexual morality, but it is not hard to find them in the Bible, clearly stated. The urge to sex is immensely powerful and people do not want to hear that it is an offense against God to do what their body is urging.
In modern society, the sliding heap has slid so far that there is almost nothing left. It has been Satan's point of entry into the destruction of Christian society, his greatest lure to turn the eyes of the careless away from Christ and towards a morality of narcissism. The rationalization of the young couple in a "committed relationship" sleeping together is the little cut in the skin where the disease may enter.
The result? Today, forty percent of all children in the United States are born out of wedlock; to women under thirty, over 50% of children are born to single mothers, and in the African-American community, almost 75%. This is a societal disaster. Children born out of wedlock suffer far greater problems of every kind. Not to mention, the mothers - not having a man to carry half the burden - must turn to the government or society for help.
But proving that having children out of wedlock has dire consequences on how we all live is not the point. The point is: trust in God and do His will. If we truly have faith in Christ, we will not rationalize sin and we will not twist the clear words of the Bible.
Biblical sexual morality can be summed up in three phrases: No sex outside of marriage; no sex with someone of the same gender; and no lusting for "forbidden fruit". There is no provision for "well, we can make an exception in this special case." This all sounds rather harsh to the modern ear, but that is what the Bible says.
There is one very weird twist to all this: Nowhere does the Bible forbid polygamy outright. There is a clear implication in the New Testament that people should only marry one partner (for example, read Matthew 19, cited above); but even in the early church, polygamy was tolerated for people who were already married to more than one person when they converted.