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If we are reading straight through a Bible book (currently Exodus), we take Wednesdays and Sundays off for a broader Christian message.

Daily Devotion for January 9, 2013


<i>Angelus</i> by Jean-François Millet
Angelus by Jean-François Millet, ca. 1859

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.

An old black gospel song, covered here by the Dixie Hummingbirds.



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.

Prayer to Cast Aside Bad Habits

Mighty Holy Spirit, face of the one true God, help me, for I have slipped into bad habits that thwart my attempts to evade the sinful temptations of life. You have promised that you would not let me be tempted beyond my ability, and for every temptation would provide an escape, so that I might endure it. Holy Spirit, show me my escape from my bad habit. Let me resolve to work on it, to pray on it, to turn it into a habit of good; for I know how you love righteous conduct, and my love for you longs to please you.

Amen.

Dedication

Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,

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.



Illuminated manuscript page from Bath Abbey
An illuminated Bible at Bath Abbey (England). This page has text beginning at Mark 16:5.

Proverbs 17:24 (NKJV)

Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 42:1-9

A Light to the Nations

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.

See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.



Notes on the Scripture

Isaiah here gives a great poetic tribute to Christ. His words are equally applicable to the Hebrews and to Christ's disciples. If you read the passage with the thought that he is talking about Christ, Israel, Paul, or yourself, it makes sense.

lighthouse, light unto the nations

The third paragraph is something that has confounded people for thousands of years. Many Hebrews expected that their Messiah would come with a sword; the appearance and divinity of Jesus was a shock to them. He preached a doctrine of peace and humility. He did not raise armies to conquer by force; instead, he submitted to force and, even in death, conquered the world by truth and goodness.

The battle continues to rage in our lifetime, as it has since Christ's ascension. We are torn between two mighty forces. One is the law of nature, the survival of the fittest. It teaches us to build weapons, fight and kill if necessary, to promote ourselves and make our abilities and accomplishments as public as possible. Few people are humble on television. The world preaches its doctrine in the language of anger and pride.

The other is the law of God, the survival of the meek, whom Jesus promised would inherit the earth. It tells us not to "cry or lift up [our] voice, or make it heard in the street." We should be so gentle that we would not even break the most fragile thing possible, which Isaiah calls "a bruised reed".

There have been people with the strength of faith to practice this doctrine in life. Quakers would die before they would go to war, even refusing to defend themselves. But very few can live lives of pacifism. People don't want to die; they don't want to be conquered by other nations; they don't want to be walked over during their lives by people of less ability and fewer scruples.

We must do the best we can with this. If you ever begin to feel self-righteous, like you are a paragon of Christian virtue, just ask yourself if you have followed this, the hardest of all the Bible's teachings.

When others assault you, physically or verbally, do you turn the other cheek? When someone sues you for your shirt, do you give him your cloak as well? Or do you hire a lawyer and defend your property? We all sin and fall short of the glory of God; but we can at least be truthful with ourselves about where we have fallen short and confess our shortcomings, rather than pretending they don't exist.



endless knot

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2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction in righteousness.



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