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Daily Devotion for July 7, 2017
Christ is beardless and youthful in the Early Christian style. His pose recalls that of an enthroned Roman emperor. He is holding a scroll with the seven seals as described in the book of Revelation. He sits on an orb that represents the world.
Below him are the Four Rivers of Paradise. On his right, Christ extends a victory wreath (Roman symbol) to Saint Vitalis, who is accompanied by an angel. On his left stands another angel who is introducing Bishop Ecclesius. Ecclesius is presenting a model of the Church to Christ.
The foundations of the church were built under the authority of Bishop Ecclesius. Notice that both Saint Vitalis and Bishop Ecclesius are labeled.)
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.
Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
Holy Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with Thee.
Blessed art Thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of Thy womb;
For Thou hast given birth
to the Savior of our souls.
Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff
To Help Others This Day
Heavenly Lord, I pray that this day, you will continue to bless me, that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don’t know you intimately. I pray that others will find your strength, so that they can love and help one another. I pray for those who don’t believe, that they may find you.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember the example of my Lord and Savior: to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. Remind me, nudge me, let me remember to find you when I’m feel like I'm pushed beyond my limits. In Christ's name, I come to you,
For All Who Misuse the Gift of Sex
Heavenly Father, I pray for your guidance to all people who have fallen into the pit of sexual immorality, especially those who earn money from, or openly abuse, the gift of sex you have given us: Adulterers; prostitutes and those who go to them; active homosexuals; those who are given to fornication; pederasts, and all drawn to abnormal expression of your gift; pornographers and their audience; those who seek to lust; and all those who teach that morality is illusory, make excuses, and encourage others to misuse their sexual nature.
Help them, and all of us, to admit and confess our sin, and to seek to amend our lives, that we might find the full measure of your love and your eternal joy. Where I have misused my sexual nature, send your Holy Spirit to me, so that I might fight the temptation to lustful conduct every day; and I pray that all who desire it, may find satisfaction of their needs within a happy and Godly marriage.
In Christ’s name I pray,
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse urges us to “mind our own affairs”?
Psalm 86:1-2 (NKJV)
Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
1 Peter 4:7 (ESV)
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
Notes on the Scripture
There are questions that are simply unanswerable, not because there is no answer, but because our minds cannot grasp them. And one of these is: How am I conscious of myself? Scientists try but they never can really explain to us the most central, the most fundamental, experience of our lives. We perceive ourselves as “me”.
ur life is the center of our universe, for it houses everything we know, everything we feel. If I cut my arm, it feels different than cutting any other arm in the universe. If I fear death, it is different from fearing the death of anyone else, no matter how much I love them.
The meaning of ourselves to ourselves is incapable of comprehension; for in a way, when we die, everything will cease to exist. But we know we will die. The odds are 1 out of 1. And everything we know, everything we feel, everything we are capable of doing, our very self will simply disappear. We know this, because we have watched other people die. We have seen dead corpses that used to be people. It is terrifying.
This is why Christ was physically resurrected: because that is the only way He could prove to us, in a way that we could fully understand, that there is life after death. He did not promise that our bodies would be resurrected; rather, he proved that the eternal life He had promised was real, in the only way that we could fully grasp it.
Peter tells us that “the end of all things is at hand”, meaning, the end of our lives as we know them is coming, and we absolutely cannot predict when it will happen. Very few people, on the day of their death, wake up thinking “I will die today”. Even a condemned prisoner on the day of his execution clings to the hope that something, someone, will somehow intervene.
Christians learn not to fear death so very much. We have been given knowledge and proof that death does not mean extinction, but rather, a change in form. Moreover, this change will be an improvement!
Peter, whose faith was strong beyond most people’s imagining, wrote today’s message in full confidence of Christ’s grace and, thus, his eternal life. He did not shrink from the idea of his death, but instead, embraced it. He wants us spend our lives in preparation for this great change, because we never know when it will come. We do not have time to waste.
And so we must be “sober and self-controlled” now, not tomorrow, not next year. Our prayers are the key to our faith, and our faith is our key to eternal life.
In this touching painting by Norwegian master Edvard Munch, a dying child looks peacefully into the light of salvation, as her grieving mother prays for her.