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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Daily Devotion for November 21, 2015


<i>Parable of the Rich Man</i>, Rembrandt ca. 1627
Parable of the Rich Man, Rembrandt ca. 1627. Rembrandt illustrates the parable of the rich fool, as told in Luke 12. At night a rich man studies one of his golden coins. In the early 17th century a stack of books was often used as a symbol of vanity. The Hebrew letters suggest a biblical setting.

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.

Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins, all riding to glory.



Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today

Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, made out of your love for us, that all who follow you might find salvation and eternal life.

Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,

Amen.

Thanks for the Word of God

I  thank you, loving God, that we have the Scriptures to search, given by your inspiration in total truth, that we might gain the profit of salvation from them. I give thanks for all those who toiled to preserve your Word for our learning. I give thanks that through the patience and comfort of the Bible we may have hope: a light of prophecy and truth, as sure as a bright star in the darkness, leading us to Christ. And I give thanks that on the most ordinary day, both I and any other person who seeks you may hear in our own tongue the mighty works you have done.

Amen.

Meditation

[The Lord has marked the road for the coming day.]


Benediction

If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

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.



Judas silver
Judas Receiving Thirty Pieces of Silver, Detail of Ivory Diptych, French, 14th Century

Psalm 3:1-4 (ESV)

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:15 (Darby Translation)

The Eighth Commandment

Thou shalt not steal.


Notes on the Scripture

There is a strong tendency, in groups of profoundly dedicated Christians, towards communalism. In fact, some the most dedicated Christians — monks and nuns — take vows of poverty and live an absolutely communal life, not owning even the clothes on their back. But outside of monasteries, these communal experiments have been failures.

drawing of a monk at prayer

It would make sense that Christians, whose lives becomes so centered on the Spirit that mammon becomes a burden, would gravitate toward socialist existence; but what makes sense often conflicts with truth, and this seems to be an example. Large-scale socialist societies have almost universally been characterized by atheism, ranging from the rather lackadaisical scorn for religion in much of northern Europe to the aggressive persecution of Christianity in Marxist countries. Indeed, the increasingly socialist United States is experiencing a concomitant rise of outspoken anti-Christian sentiment.

The Bible does not condemn or even discourage socialism. Nor does it promote it. In fact, if one were to sum up the New Testament's attitude toward politics, it would be "stay out of it." The prohibitions against theft in the Old Testament definitely presuppose, without criticism, a society where individuals may own land and items worth stealing. This becomes more apparent as one reads along: we will see the laws regarding property and theft greatly fleshed out in Exodus 22:1-14.

Paul — and almost certainly, Christ Himself — worked to make money. But then, we have Christ telling us that it is easier for a "camel to pass through the eye of a needle" than for a rich man to go to heaven, and advising a rich man to give away all that he owns. (Matthew 19:24)

So, what is the point of all of this? God understands human life and expects us to make and enjoy our living. There is no sin in it, and no sin in owning property. It is where we begin to love money that we fall from the path. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation." (1 Timothy 6:2-11)

The Eighth Commandment — because it is so strongly emphasized — seems to imply that theft is an even faster road to spiritual ruin than wanting to get rich. This in no respect conflicts with the New Testament: Theft places ownership of goods ahead of our love for our neighbor and, thus, our love for Christ. It embroils a lot of people in controversy over earthly goods. So let us not covet the rich, or despise them, or judge them, or think it all right to steal from them. We must love all, rich and poor alike.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Patient Endurance”

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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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