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Daily Devotion for December 1, 2015


christian murder
The Battle of Lutzen by Carl Wahlbom ca. 1865. Christians murder one another in the devastation of the 30 Years War, the bloodiest of many Protestant-Catholic wars.

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.

A terrific modern worship song with a heavy rock sound.



For Faithfulness in the Use of this World's Goods

Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I possess; Grant me grace that I may honor you with my substance, and remembering the account which I must one day give, may be a faithful steward of your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer For the Damned

Dear Holy God, I remember today all those who spend their lives denouncing Christ; the sarcastic atheists who make fun of believers; the people whose careers are built on trying to discredit your Word; and all those who follow false, dead-end religions. Help me to expunge any anger I may feel when attacked by such people, or when I hear their misguided words. Let your Spirit be strong in me, to educate my tongue, if I am called upon to respond to one of them; and let me always answer in love and serenity.

Most of all, heavenly Father, forgive them; if it be Your will, bring the light of your salvation to them, heal them of their bitterness and self-absorption, that any and all of them might find the beauty of life in Christ, and be torn away from the clutches of Satan. In the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Amen.

Meditation

[Turn your face to the Sun and the shadows fall behind you]


Benediction

I  pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.

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.



Dove of peace

Proverbs 22:8 (ESV)

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 34: 19 (CEV)

Don’t make metal images of gods.


Notes on the Scripture

The Versions of the Ten Commandments [3]

The second commandment in Exodus 34 is stated very differently than in Exodus 20. It is much shorter, but it greatly clarifies the meaning.

There has been, throughout the history of Christianity, a running disagreement about paintings and statues in churches. The positions can be extreme. Traditional mainline Orthodox and Catholic Christians venerate and pray before statues and paintings of Jesus and various saints, especially the Virgin Mary. An Orthodox church in Russia is usually jam-packed with icons. Stained-glass windows depict scenes in the life of Jesus and the saints.

At the opposite extreme, the radical Protestants who emerged in the Protestant Reformation would not even have a cross in their church. The Amish of today will sometimes not allow their photograph to be taken.

gold Baal from Canaan
Canaanite Baal

But reading the prohibition against graven images in the full context of the Old Testament, one must fairly say that the evil to be avoided is the worship of heathen idols; this becomes clearer when one sees the commandment as it is presented here: "Do not make metal images of gods." The threat to the worship of God was not graven images per se, but the idols and statues that were worshipped as actual gods, in and of themselves.

On the other hand, there is no point in the Bible where putting statues, etc., in a church is required or suggested. No church need have so much as a physical cross in it. An altar is clearly authorized, and also a place set aside especially for worship. But a fair reading of the Bible allows enormous leeway for individual preference in this regard.

In fairness to the Protestant Reformation, Catholic practices in the 15th and 16th century had become unquestionably venal and abusive. Magic powers were ascribed to objects, such as saints' body parts, and access to them sold to superstitious lay people. Today, some churches still permit what could only be called ritual fetishism, which borders perilously close to putting God inside a physical object.

But for real people seeking Christ in the world today, it is a mistake to argue over the second commandment, and prideful to take too rigid a stand as to what is right and wrong about, say, stained glass windows. It only creates a needless barrier between fellow Christians whose fight is against Satan and secular atheism, not each other.

It is all too easy to become angry and obstinate at essentially silly differences in worship practices, especially when the person you disagree with is acting self-righteous and obstinate. Truly blessing, loving, and wishing every benefit to such a person requires the utmost withdrawal from pride and true life in the Spirit. But that is exactly what Christ calls us to do.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Snowflakes ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT): Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.


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