arrow to previous dayarrow to next day
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Welcome back, Visitor.

Daily Devotion for November 26, 2016


<i>The Stoning of Stephen</i> by Bernardo Daddi, ca. 1348. At the Vatican Museum.
The Stoning of Stephen by Bernardo Daddi, ca. 1348. The murder of Stephen by the Sanhedrin (Acts 7) is particularly appropriate to today’s Bible reading, about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. (The person in the center, holding the green cloak, is the future Saint Paul.)

Prayers

Scripture

178 people in our community are currently praying with you.

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.




Morning Praise

Blessed are you, Lord God: Blessed are you for ever. Holy is your name: Blessed are you for ever. Great is your mercy for your people. In the morning I cry out to you: Blessed are you for ever.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I praise you and give you glory: I bless you for calling me to be one of your holy people. Remain in my heart, and guide me in my love and service all of this day. Help me to shine your light before others and lead them to the way of faith. Holy Trinity of love, I praise you now and for ever.

Amen.

Meditation

[Blessed is God forever.]


For the Holiness of the Church

Oh God my Father, who has always loved and protected your universal church, I pray that your Holy Spirit may fall upon all ministers, priests, pastors, bishops, and all who lead in churches; and upon all teachers of your holy Word.

Make them good and faithful stewards of your Holy Word, dear Lord. Bless them to lead us closer to you every day. Let them not be hypocrites in their actions, nor blinded by their personal bias to the truth of your teaching. Let them be strong against the pressures of the secular world, without compromise. Let them always strive for unity with all Christians, not pridefully dividing themselves from one another by the fallible doctrines of man. Raise them up, to peace and love and utter humility, that by their example your flock may be guided into the way of truth.

Amen.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving

#25 What moment this week am I thankful for?


Benediction

May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.

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.



<i>The Annunciation (detail)</i>, fresco by Jacopo Pontormo ca. 1528.
The Annunciation (detail), fresco by Jacopo Pontormo ca. 1528. Pontormo emphasizes Mary's humanity and intelligence, rather than her innocence.

Being and Becoming

What you are is God's gift to you; what you become is your gift to God.

~ Hans Urs von Balthasar


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 23:13-24 (ESV)

Woe to You!

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’

You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”


Notes on the Scripture

The tone of Jesus's diatribe against the Pharisees is clear: they are hypocrites and they are headed for hell. The specifics, on the other hand, are difficult to follow and need some explanation.

1) There were a considerable number of people in the Mediterranean from polytheistic cultures who were called by God. They had “ears to hear”; they were thirsty for monotheism, and Judaism was the only developed monotheistic religion. Judaism was, in fact, the religion of the one true God prior to Christ.

T

hese Gentiles would go to synagogues to learn and worship. One must think that God loved this characteristic of Judaism. It effectively created a Gentile population ready to receive Christ. The problem is that the Pharisees would work on these people to convince them to be circumcised and join the Pharisees in their false, rigid adherence to a body of manmade rules. In effect, they would take a person who was seeking God and divert him into a cult of hypocrisy.

2) The confusing business about swearing on an altar as opposed to swearing on the gift that is on an altar, which makes zero sense to us, is something we have seen before. (Matthew 5:33-37) First off, it shows just how minutely legalistic the Pharisees' religion was. They taught that a person who swore by the Temple did not make a binding oath, whereas a person who swore by the gold of the Temple did make a binding oath!

The legalism of this — that is, teaching that righteousness before God depended on such tiny and meaningless details — was false and unholy, in and of itself. But even worse, it was abused to break the law of Moses. Pharisee merchants would swear an oath that something was genuine, but leave some tiny technical detail out in order to cheat people! They might swear “by the Temple” that something was solid silver, when it was silver-plated copper, and laugh up their sleeve because the oath was worthless. They were not only stealing by fraud, but also using the law of Moses to help them do it.

3) Jews were obligated to give a tithe of all crops to the Temple. The Pharisees were so incredibly meticulous about following this law to the letter that, if they grew a small herb garden with a mint plant in it, they would break off a stem of mint as part of their sacrifice. Having complied with such meaningless minutiae of their rules, they neglected the great duties of justice, mercy, and faith.

A parallel to modern times will flesh out this criticism. Imagine a deacon in a local church who makes $873.70 in his paycheck, carefully counting out pennies so that he puts precisely $87.37 in the collection plate on Sunday. He then goes home, peers over the backyard fence to lust over his neighbor's teenage daughter sunning in her swimsuit, gets into a shouting match with another neighbor and calls him a “god-damned idiot”, and thinks up a way to hide a mechanical defect in a car he wants to sell. That is what Jesus is talking about, in the “tithe mint and dill and cumin” criticism.

Jesus used the metaphor “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.” This is a hyperbole, or an intentionally overstated metaphor. If it doesn't quite make sense, think of a person eating a bowl of soup, who strains out a tiny insect but ignores a dead rat in the bottom of the bowl.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Praising God Is A Honor ”

Current Memory Verse     Remember the Bible

Print Today’s Devotion





Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this age . . . .



About Daily Prayer



Follow us on Facebook
Join the Daily Prayer Group.


If you are new to Daily Prayer, welcome. This page provides a non-denominational, Bible-based devotion every day, including prayers, Scripture, Bible study, music, and art, designed to be usable for worship and the deepening of faith by any person who confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

We hope you will take a look around at some of the features. Registration is not necessary, although if you do register, you will be greeted by name and be able to record your scores on our Daily Bible Quiz, Match-a-Verse, and Memorize Favorite Bible Verses features.

We do not email anything, except replies to emails from readers. Registration asks for an email address as a means of verifying that people are real, but this is kept completely private and never used.

“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon





Add Comment

Note: Only registered members who are logged in will be able to see or post Comments. Apologies: we have had to do this to prevent spam.

Comments

No comments yet. Be the first!

Daily Quiz

No scores available at this time.



Our Community Around the World: Visitors July 1, 2009 - January 1, 2020


US  50,318,719
PH  4,118,455
CA  3,331,021
UK  2,039,444
AU  372,260
MY  95,339
ZA  70,555
NZ  65,931
SG  62,313
NG  60,473
IN  59,221
AE  46,880
SA  42,278
TT  40,999
KE  39,561
BB  35,010
JM  31,484
FJ  29,356
KY  26,000
CN  24,375
DE  20,516
HK  19,772
KR  16,339
GH  14,404
DM  14,025
IT  13,763
FR  13,313
TZ  11,068
BM  11,045
BS  10,664
MW  9,524
ID  9,141
LC  7,836
ZW  7,422
GU  7,319
PK  7,699
CZ  7,448
CO  7,411
UG  7,223
HN  6,991
VC  6,314
QA  6,208
MX  5,089
KW  4,226
BR  4,124
NL  3,956
TH  3,888
BZ  3,647
BW  3,456
OM  3,451
BG  3,450
BO  3,120
EG  4,782
CH  6,919
NA  2,422
ES  2,419
AW  2,335
PR  12,563
LK  3,282
IE  2,964
IL  2,551
GY  2,539
ET  2,312
TW  2,310
CM  2,242
BE  2,038
DK  6,333
LB  1,682
ZM  1,503