Daily Devotion for August 7, 2016
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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Music by Johann Crüger (1647)
Lyrics by Martin Rinkart (1663), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1858)
Prayer for Purity of Worship
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
For the Philippines
Heavenly Lord, look down with mercy upon all those in the Philippines who have suffered the terrible devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Have mercy on the souls of those who have died; comfort and heal those who are injured; and be with all who have lost homes, friends or relatives, or otherwise suffered from this catastrophe. Soften the hearts of the world's people, and encourage them to give of their prayer, their substance and their time to help those who have suffered from this extraordinary storm. In the name of Jesus, your merciful Son, I pray.
Prayer for the Power of the Holy Spirit
O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.
- Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
- Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
- Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
- Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
- Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
Into your hands, O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God, I commend my spirit. Bless me and all those who pray in faith of You this day and throughout the coming week; save us and grant unto us everlasting life.
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 96:7-10 (NKJV)
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, "The Lord reigns."
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Exodus 22:1-6 (The Message)
Responsibility for Your Actions
Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.
Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft. If the stolen animal is found alive in their possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—they must pay back double.
If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else’s field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard.
If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.
Notes on the Scripture
ne notable aspect of the Old Testament is a code of specific laws that were given to the ancient Hebrews. Most of these laws, especially concerning forms of worship and specific penalties are no longer followed literally, except in the most Orthodox of Jewish communities. Many of them, however, are very close to our modern civil and criminal laws.
Politics, law, and religion were integrated for the Hebrews. There was only one set of laws that applied to every facet of life. Today, in the West, these are considered separate spheres of activity, but the Hebrew law influences in every aspect of our lives, even after 3,000 years.
A general principle can be inferred from today’s Scripture: we must be responsible for damage that we do, either directly (such as by stealing) or indirectly (such as keeping an animal that eats someone's garden). It is natural for a person to try to avoid punishment and loss; and life teaches us that we can often avoid punishment and loss by shirking responsibility.
If we are driving and hit a parked car in an isolated spot, how tempting is it just to drive away? Very! And our minds can create rationalizations with such brilliance and creativity. His insurance will pay for it. He was parked wrong. Her brand new Mercedes is so much more expensive than my old junker, she can afford it and she'll rip me off on the repairs. The reasons that people can invent to avoid the consequences of their action are uncountable.
But we must remember two things. First, earthly goods are an illusion; becoming too attached to them is a barrier between us and God. We do not put our faith in earthly goods, “where moth and rust doth corrupt,”; we accumulate our treasure in heaven, “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”
And second, love of money and sinful pride — the two things that drive us to deny responsibility when we have cause some sort of damage — are two of the most basic sins that we suffer from. Both pride and love of money are highlighted in the Bible as the cause of many evils.