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Daily Devotion for September 20, 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.
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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 the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken.
Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:
Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?
I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
Notes on the Scripture
Ancient Israel awaited the "day of the Lord", when God would come down and destroy Israel's enemies. But the time of Amos (and his more famous contemporary Isaiah), although a time of peak prosperity for Israel and Judah, was also a time of growing secularism. Devotion to the Lord was becoming ever more perfunctory. Many ignored their religious obligations totally. And increasingly, people failed to provide for those in need, the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned.
In this baleful passage, Amos asks the people of Israel why they act so eager for the day of the Lord to come. Everyone thinks that, simply because they are Jews and possibly engage in the outward trappings of religious life, they will be part of the God's victory.
If this sounds familiar, it should, because it is terribly close to Western society today. The media preach to us that nice people all go to heaven when they die. But what does the Bible say about idolaters and the self-satisfied?
The western world uses the Christian knowledge of heaven like a bedtime story for a frightened child. They spend their lives in sin, and even curse the name of God or Jesus, and yet they believe that their death will lead them to eternal peace. This is the great folly of American and Europe today; for the end waiting for the unfaithful is terrible.
The subject of God's wrath and the hell that likely awaits most people after they die has become an unpopular subject in mainstream Christianity. But it serves us well to remember, from time to time, that the Bible does not change simply because we ignore parts of it. Damnation of the wicked and the unfaithful is terrible to contemplate and very real.