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Daily Devotion for November 16, 2011


Prayers

Scripture

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lessons and scripture

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.

We don't often have instrumental music, but this is terribly touching even without words, especially given its connection to the Titanic.





Prayer for the Morning

Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.

Amen.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

Amen.

Benediction

Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

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.

(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)



endless knot

Psalm 41:1-2

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,
And he will be blessed on the earth;


Blue Latin Cross

Romans 11:7-10 (ESV)

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day." [Deuteronomy 29:4, Isaiah 29:10]

And David says,

"Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever." [Psalm 69:22-23]

Notes on the Scripture

Everyone knows the difference between following the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law". We see a lot of examples, under such terms as "bending the rules", "creative accounting", "playing games", "finding loopholes" — the list is a long one. Here is one of a million possible examples: In 2005, WalMart wanted to build a 100,000 square-foot store in Dunkirk, Maryland. But the local laws restricted the size of stores to a maximum of 75,000 square feet. So WalMart decided to build two stores adjoining one another, each of them less than 75,000 feet. (They abandoned the plan due to public outrage.)

This dichotomy, between someone who seeks to follow the spirit of a law, and someone who seeks to bend the spirit of the law while complying with the letter of the law, is how Paul characterizes the Jews who were deaf to Christ's message. (In fact, it is where the expression "spirit of the law" originates.) The Pharisees insisted on following the letter of Mosaic law; but as David put it, the law had become a stumbling block for them, rather than a road to God.

Christ himself pointed out the foolishness of trying to become righteous by rote obedience to the law. Most notably, he infuriated the Jewish authorities by healing the sick on the Sabbath. The letter of the law — the fourth commandment — prohibits working on the Sabbath. But Jesus showed them that the true path to God lay in the spirit of the law, and the spirit of the law would require one to help his fellow man or woman, even on the Sabbath:

Then Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?" [Luke 6:9]

So the Jews who lived in the spirit were able to accept the good news of Christ; but others — those with "eyes that would not see, and ears that would not hear" — were empty of the spirit. They could see only the law itself; and so they were lost.



Jesus heals the man born blind


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