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Daily Devotion for July 27, 2010
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.
A tasteful update of the traditional Kyrie Eleison.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
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.
Responsibility for Your Actions
If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed.
A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft.
If the stolen animal is found alive in his possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—he must pay back double.
If a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in another man's field, he must make restitution from the best of his 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
One 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, except in the most Orthodox of Jewish communities. Many of them, however, are very close to our modern civil and criminal laws.
One great general principle can be seen in the lesson, the lesson that we must be responsible for damage that we do, either directly (such as by stealing) or indirectly (such as keeping an animal that gets loose and eats someone's garden). It is natural for a person 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.