Daily Devotion for November 23, 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.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Music and Lyrics by Frederick H. Lehman, 1917
Prayer to Dedicate Oneself to Christ This Day
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day, I commit myself Your care. Mold me in your image. In everything I say and do, let my mind be on the eternal goodness of heaven rather than the vanities of earth, meaningless pride, or the anger and envy that tear apart my precious soul.
I dedicate myself to your holiness, Oh sweet and innocent Christ, and pray that you may be with me, to check my tongue before it can speak evil and to stop my hand when it seeks to sin. I come to you as a child. I will look to you for guidance and wisdom. Let me know the joyful feeling of having done something that pleased you; let me never feel the pain of knowing I have disappointed you. And let me live without fear, without confusion, always steady in the certainty of your forgiveness and ultimate victory, I pray,
Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away
Grant, O Lord Christ, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence become known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. May all the earth praise your holy Name, living in the true love and harmony you purchased for us by your suffering.
[Looking to God for guidance.]
For Those Praying with Me
Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don't know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Exodus 20:16 (Easy-to-Read Version)
The Ninth Commandment
You must not tell lies about other people.
Notes on the Scripture
Starting with the earliest English language Bible, this has usually been translated "you shall not give false testimony against your neighbor," and that is probably closer to the actual meaning of the commandment than the translation given above. The Ten Commandments is not a comprehensive code of conduct. It was not intended to cover every aspect of behavior.
The Hebrews are in a state of emergency. We have all seen movies where a group of strange people find themselves stranded and in some degree of danger. Even where they have the benefit of coming from a society, they find it difficult to agree on anything. Forming a society is hard, because every person knows the right thing to do — only it is different from everyone else's.
The Ten Commandments are a basic code to get the great unruly mass of Hebrews started on the road to government. They need to have at least the most fundamental laws to govern their relationship with God and each other. So, God gives them a beginning. It is just enough for them to digest at one sitting. The ten laws are the irreducible, absolute bedrock of Hebrew civilization and, by extension, any civilization that would follow God's will.
They are thus things we should never do (or always be sure to do).
Can we say, then, that it is more important that we not give false testimony in court, than that we do not lie about where we were last night? Yes, we can. We often have a very powerful impulse to lie to authorities when such a lie would help out a friend. This would apply not just to a court, but to our boss, a teacher — anyone in authority.
Honesty is a well-known virtue in general. But when dishonesty results in injustice, where the wrong person is absolved or rewarded, and the deserving person is ignored or the guilty party absolved, it displeases God. We put ourselves above the law; we make our own interests more important than God.
It is a very hard thing to tell a friend or family member, "I am not going to lie to save you." It is hard not to lie to save ourselves from the consequences of our actions. But God puts false swearing on the same list as murder and stealing. Since God made this a bedrock rule of His law, it is a challenge we should prepare ourselves to meet.