Daily Devotion for October 23, 2019
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.
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
A Puritan Prayer
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Your care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to Your ways. Mold me completely into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise. Let those around see me living by Your Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clothed in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, and hands.
May I travel swampy paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In every transaction let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to Your wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord and Savior,
Prayer for Bearing Troubles
O God, our help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the prayers of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner; have mercy upon me, and deliver me from the troubles that torment me, even though I might deserve them. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that you give us the trials of this life for our chastisement, when we drift away from you, and disobey your will; deal not with me according to my sins, but according to your endless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. In the name of Christ I pray,
“When I say, I feel so empty, God says, I created you with a longing in your heart that only I can fill.”
~ Psalm 90:14.
Blessing for the Day
Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and 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.
Judith 4 (NABRE)
Israel Fears Holofernes
hen the Israelites who dwelt in Judea heard of all that Holofernes, commander-in-chief of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, had done to the nations, and how he had despoiled all their temples and destroyed them, they were in extreme dread of him, and greatly alarmed for Jerusalem and the temple of the Lord, their God.
Now, they had lately returned from exile, and only recently had all the people of Judea been gathered together, and the vessels, the altar, and the temple been purified from profanation. So they sent word to the whole region of Samaria, to Kona, Beth-horon, Belmain, and Jericho, to Choba and Aesora, and to the valley of Salem. The people there posted guards on all the summits of the high mountains, fortified their villages, and since their fields had recently been harvested, stored up provisions in preparation for war.
Joakim, who was high priest in Jerusalem in those days, wrote to the inhabitants of Bethulia (and Betomesthaim), which is on the way to Esdraelon, facing the plain near Dothan, and instructed them to keep firm hold of the mountain passes, since these offered access to Judea. It would be easy to ward off the attacking forces, as the defile was only wide enough for two abreast. The Israelites carried out the orders given them by Joakim, the high priest, and the senate of the whole people of Israel, which met in Jerusalem.
All the men of Israel cried to God with great fervor and did penance—they, along with their wives, and children, and domestic animals. All their resident aliens, hired laborers, and slaves also girded themselves with sackcloth. And all the Israelite men, women and children who lived in Jerusalem prostrated themselves in front of the temple building, with ashes strewn on their heads, displaying their sackcloth covering before the Lord.
The altar, too, they draped in sackcloth; and with one accord they cried out fervently to the God of Israel not to allow their children to be seized, their wives to be taken captive, the cities of their inheritance to be ruined, or the sanctuary to be profaned and mocked for the nations to gloat over.
The Lord heard their cry and had regard for their distress. For the people observed a fast of many days' duration throughout Judea, and before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty in Jerusalem. The high priest Joakim, and all the priests in attendance on the Lord who served his altar, were also girded with sackcloth as they offered the daily holocaust, the votive offerings, and the freewill offerings of the people. With ashes upon their turbans, they cried to the Lord with all their strength to look with favor on the whole house of Israel.
Notes on the Scripture
We are set in the period 600-500 B.C., just before the destruction of the First Temple. The great Persian army of Nebuchadnezzer, which has laid waste to the entire mideast from Iraq to Lebanon, sits poised at the northern boundary of the Kingdom of Judah. (The northern “Kingdom of Israel” was long ago destroyed by Assyria.) All that separates the Babylonian army from the last of the Hebrew nation is a range of mountains. In command is the terrible Holofernes.
The Hebrews are, of course, terrified. They turn to military preparations but, even more, they turn the the Lord, who has protected them so many times in the past.
The futility of trying to defeat Satan (Death) by human intelligence was made famous in Ingmar Bergman’s movie, The Seventh Seal.