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Daily Devotion for April 6, 2011
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 for Family and Friends
Blessed are You, loving Father, For all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are You for giving us family and friends To be with us in times of joy and sorrow, To help us in days of need, And to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Father, I praise You for Your Son Jesus, Who knew the happiness of family and friends, And in the love of Your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Penitential Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake,
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
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.
~ Rain Bojangles
The World's Hatred of Christians
"Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning."
Notes on the Scripture
Yesterday we read the Scripture in which Jesus told us that we would be his friends. We are now the cool crowd; we are a clique, with one major difference between most cliques — anyone who wants to join can do so and will be treated as a full member immediately. The most powerful man who ever walked on earth has declared that we are his friends.
Still, there are a lot of people who hate us. Christ himself warned us that there would be. We are widely hated or at least disdained, looked down upon as deficient in intelligence. We are compared to people who hunt for paranormal activity or believe in alien abduction. We are branded as hypocrites. People think we judge and condemn them.
It is hard to understand this hatred. Anyone who read the Bible and understands Christ's message could not possibly hold such an attitude, unless they are utterly lost to evil. But many people have been misled about what it means to be a true Christian, that is, a person who believes in, and follows, the teachings of Jesus Christ.
And many, many people who have grown up in a church have fallen away to the temptations and philosophy of the world. Some cling so tightly to some aspect of worldly pleasure that they do not understand how happy they would be, if they would fasten their gaze on God instead of sex, money, or power. They do not understand how powerful Christ's forgiveness can be, or how completely he understands our weakness to sin.
Others have simply been misled by people who have misrepresented the Gospel to them. I heard this message on Sixty Minutes, of all places, just recently, when they did a piece on Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Dolan is a real Biblical Christian and a powerful coming force in the Catholic Church. He has vowed to emphasize the loving and forgiving aspect of Christian faith, instead of the condemnatory, rule-based message that has so often characterized Christian teaching. (He is a "conservative", by the way, and has no thought of abandoning the traditional teachings of his denomination.)
I think he has the answer to the disturbing abandonment of Christianity in North America and Europe. Rather than trying to make the church (in the wide sense) more "relevant" to modern society by abandoning the word of the Bible, he seeks to attract people by teaching the New Testament instead of the Old, by teaching the God of love, as personified by the life and teachings of Jesus.