Daily Devotion for April 11, 2012
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
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Amish boys at play.
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Exodus 20:17 (KJV)
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Notes on the Scripture
Covet is an uncommon word today, and actually, most people know what it means only because of the Ten Commandments. It means to desire something that is not yours. But if you had not grown up with the ten commandments, you might find this one puzzling. What's wrong with just wanting something nice? "Just because I'm married doesn't mean I'm blind," men sometimes say as they crane their neck to stare at a cute little derriere in tight shorts. "We have got to do something about our kitchen," says Mrs. Pomeroy, after she comes home from her neighbor's new house with stainless steel Miele appliances, granite countertops and hand-painted Portuguese tile.
"Thy neighbor's wife" falls into a special category. While you might buy your neighbor's car or duplicate her draperies, the only way you can have a neighbor's spouse is to take him or her wrongfully; to commit adultery or to break up their marriage. With the teachings of Christ that came later, telling us how harmful it is to allow sexual lust to fill our hearts even if the person we lust for is not married, the commandment just adds a second level of reinforcement.
But this commandment does not address lust, primarily: it addresses envy, jealousy, and materialism. If you want to know what happens to a society that ignores this commandment, you need do nothing more than absorb the values of Western culture. The fashion industry makes billions of dollars per year based on nothing but exploitation of material envy. Every year, they convince the population that they should be wearing clothes that look different from the clothes they bought last year. Television and magazines are filled with $400 pairs of shoes and $300 jeans that are no different in quality from shoes and jeans that cost half or a third or even a quarter as much. Even worse, they aren't even more attractive-looking than what the buyers already have in their closet.
People then wear these clothes to church. It is the ultimate irony.
But it seems like such harmless fun. Unlike murder, say, there is no horrifying destruction of another human life involved. If you have the money, what's wrong with getting Linsay that Prada bag for her birthday or buying Jason a new BMW when he turns 16?
Jesus tells us what is wrong with it, in no uncertain terms: "
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And if that is not clear enough, He follows it by saying, "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 mammon." (Matthew 6:24)
God gave us the earth to enjoy. There is no evil in saving up your money to buy a new house or car, if you need it, or in looking nice (although many of the most dedicated Christians, such as the Amish or Catholic nuns, would disagree, and say you should live as simply and look as plain as possible). But it is certain, that when you are looking at this year's crop of outrageously expensive dresses or cars, you are pulling your heart and mind away from Christ. You are traveling in the opposite direction, for you are letting mammon become your master.
And, finally, we must always ask ourselves: What values are we teaching our children?