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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Daily Devotion for May 24, 2020


Rose window in Trinity Church, Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y.
Rose window in Trinity Church, Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y., ca. 1885.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee.




For Diligence at Prayer

O  Lord, take from me: idleness of spirit, which destroys time; vanity of thoughts, which hinders Your presence and distracts my attention to prayer. If, while in prayer, I turn away from You in my thoughts, help me; so that this distraction may not be willful, and that - averting my mind - I may not avert my heart from You.

I confess to You, O my Lord God, all the sins of my wickedness committed before You, now and in the past. Forgive me for them for the sake of Your Holy Name, and save my soul, which You have redeemed with Your precious Blood. I entrust myself to Your mercy. I submit to Your will. Do with me according to Your mercy and not according to my evil and wickedness.

Amen.

Sunday Hymn (from Psalm 51)

God, be merciful to me;
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
In Thy vast, abounding grace,
My transgressions all erase.
Wash me wholly from my sin;
Cleanse from every ill within.

For my sins before me rise,
Ever present to my eyes.
I have sinned ‘gainst Thee alone.
In Thy sight this evil done;
That Thy judgment may be clear,
And Thy sentence just appear.

Lo, brought forth was I in sin;
When conceived I was unclean.
Lo, Thou dost desire to find
Truth sincere within the mind:
And Thou wilt within my heart
Wisdom unto me impart.

Then with hyssop sprinkle me,
And from sin I clean shall be.
Wash me from its stain, and lo,
I shall whiter be than snow.
Make me hear joy’s cheering voice;
Make my broken bones rejoice.

From my sins hide Thou Thy face;
My iniquities erase.
O my God, renew my heart,
And a spirit right impart.
Cast me not away from Thee,
Nor Thy Spirit take from me.

Give salvation’s joy again,
And a willing mind sustain.
Then thy perfect ways I’ll show
That transgressors may them know;
They converted then shall be,
Sinners shall be turned to Thee.

Amen.

Doxology

Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

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.



endless knot

Proverbs 16:19 (ESV)

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor,
than to divide the spoil with the proud.


Blue Latin Cross

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 (ESV)

Giving to the Church
N

ow concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.


Notes on the Scripture

Pope and bishops beautiful illuminated gold H

It comes as no surprise that one of the first things churches instituted was passing the collection plate. The early church was poor; it would not be until much later, when churches became entangled with the aristocratic systems of Europe, that they would hold income-producing properties and become the repositories of gold and precious stones, made into precious artwork, or generate the kind of money that would build the great cathedrals. The church, during this period, veered pretty far off course; the higher ranks of clergy became earthly princes: greedy for money and power, nepotistic, and sinful.

But back to the early church. Once local expenses were paid, the rest was stored and sent to Jerusalem, where it was used to support the Council and pay for missionaries.

Paul says nothing about how much of one’s income should be given to the church, but he does say that every person is to “put something aside . . . as he may prosper,” that is, set aside a portion of wealth proportionate to one’s income.

Many Christians follow (and many churches teach) a 10% guideline for giving. It is, at its best, a disciplinary test to ensure that they do not rationalize greed and so corrupt their souls. But, as with most of the Mosaic law, Christ moved from formal requirements of outward compliance with fixed laws to spiritually-led decisions. The New Testament thus gives no fixed amount or percentage of money that one should give to the poor and/or to the church. Instead, it focuses on the individual’s spiritual growth and the expression of one’s love for Christ.

Early Christians

Do not think that Christ brought a softer faith. His standards were enormously more stringent than the Mosaic law; He taught, for example, that where the Jews did not commit adultery, His followers should not even lust in their hearts; where the law forbade murder, Christ forbade anger, unresolved disputes, and even perhaps self-defense. (Matthew 5) And where the law set a tithe, Christ taught that, to be perfect, we should sell all our possessions, give them to the poor, and follow Him. (Matthew 19:16-22)

It is hard for us to justify our faith when our actions show that our primary concerns are human. One cannot grow in Christ when attached to money, and Christ himself was especially clear on this matter. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

When we feel torn, we should do what we should always do: pray diligently, for God’s wisdom is available anytime we pray in honesty and humility. (James 1:5). Above all, whatever one offers should be given with pure intentions, as a service to the church of Christ and an act of submission and love of God. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

One other bit of advice, practical mixed in with theological, is the instruction to set aside something at the beginning of every week. In modern terms, we might adjust this to whenever we do our budgeting or receive our income; the point is, to set something aside for God when we receive, rather than see how much we have left over. But more importantly, we should not let it become an automatic, spiritless action; this was the folly of the Pharisees. We must have the love and service of God, and our fellow humans, shining in our hearts whenever we give.



Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) at prayer, from a fresco by Pinturicchio, c. 1495.

Daily Inspiration

“Church Picnic”

Current Memory Verse     Remember the Bible

Printable Format for Today’s Devotion





Today in Daily Prayer


What Does “Tithe” Even Mean?

“Tithe” is a word from Old English meaning one-tenth; it had nothing to do with a gift. But the term “tithe” was used to translate passages in the Old Testament. I do not know Hebrew and cannot tell you whether the Mosaic law required a “tenth,” or whether the entire notion of giving a “tithe” to God is the result of mistranslation or even fabrication. There are some unbelievably complex schemes of giving in ancient Judaism, with varying percentages. It appears, however, that the Pharisees of Jesus’ day (who were great scholars, but also great hypocrites) interpreted the Hebrew word to mean “one-tenth.”

Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.



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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for May 24, 2020 were:
Pam Carpenter (12)
Margaret Entwistle (12)
HM Latchmenarine (12)
Norman Daniels (12)
Keith Langley (11)

Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Keith Langley (9 out of 9)
Norman Daniels (9 out of 9)
Greg Flippin (9 out of 9)
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