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Daily Devotion for September 1, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love;where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
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.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all who I may meet.
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.
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
Notes on the Scripture
Many people have difficulty reconciling religion and politics. Throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, we are told to support the weak: the poor, the oppressed, the handicapped, widows and orphans, the elderly. Here, Isaiah rebukes people in power who make unjust laws and decrees, specifically laws that are harsh on the unfortunate, allowing them to be preyed upon legally.
But how do we reconcile this with Christ's disdain for secular politics? He repeatedly, both by his words and his actions, warns us to steer clear of entanglement with the government. Our hearts and minds should be focused on living God's will, on helping others, on prayer and repentence. In short, we are to concentrate on what is really important: Our salvation and the salvation of others.
Christ showed downright disregard for authority. He did not rebel against it, he did not support it — he simply obeyed the secular law, seeming to regard it as more of a nuisance than anything. Most famously, when Pharisee scribes tried to trick him by asking about the religious implications of paying taxes to a heathen regime, he delivered the famous words, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's."
Paul amplified Christ's message in this regard, as he did in many different areas, even going so far as to tell slaves to accept their earthly condition, keeping their eye on the reward they were laying up in heaven: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord." (Colossians 3:22) Paul was a bit of a dreamer, but he was true to Christ's highest advice, to take one's earthly struggles with a joyful heart, concentrating one's efforts on the life to come.