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Daily Devotion for September 21, 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.
We almost always have vocal music, but this organ solo of Go Tell It on the Mountain will make your jaw drop.
Look Ma, no hands!
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
A Prayer of St. Basil the Great
I bless you, O God most high and Lord of mercies, who forever works great and mysterious deeds for me, glorious, wonderful, and numberless; who provides me with sleep as a rest from my infirmities and as a repose for my body tired by labor. I thank you that you have not destroyed me in my transgressions, but in your love toward mankind you have raised me up, as I lay in despair, that I may glorify your majesty.
I entreat your infinite goodness, enlighten the eyes of my understanding and raise up my mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open my mouth and fill it with your praise, that I may unceasingly sing and confess you, who is God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, the only-begotten Son, and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.)
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
~ Charles A Beard
The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (or Virgins)
Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this.
Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'
Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.'
And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.
Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
Notes on the Scripture
I have, in my life, sometimes treated Christianity like a life jacket stowed underneath my seat. I knew it was there for when I needed it, but I didn't want to bother with it until then. Christ's promise of forgiveness of sins can be had at any time in life, and the Bible does seem to allow God's grace to be given to one who asks late in life, even on his deathbed.
But this kind of salvation game-plan just doesn't smell right. Nobody knows the mind of God. Certainly a non-believer who finds Christ in his later life, or even his final hours, might be saved. And certainly those who try to lead Christian lives and sometimes fall short can find God's grace. None of us is perfect.
But I must wonder about myself back then. How will God judge me, if I have the same beliefs my whole life but never bother to pray, or act in accordance with my beliefs, or express my beliefs to others so that their own faith might be strengthened? Could one call the same belief, expressed more actively and fervently on my deathbed, true "belief in Christ"?
The Bible does not give an answer in black and white. Here in the parable of the ten virgins, though, Christ cautions us to be wary of procrastination. Judgment can come at any time. In the parable, the five foolish virgins (or bridesmaids) who try to go out and buy oil for their lamps are shut out of the wedding.
Christ's burden is light. If you feel like you should take it up, today is truly the time to do it.