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Daily Devotion for April 23, 2013

Moses on Mount Sinai
Moses on Mt. Sinai by : Jean-Leon Gerome ca. 1895



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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.


For Joy in God's Creation

O  Heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open my eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that rejoicing in your whole creation, I may learn to serve you with gladness, faithfully managing your bounty; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


For Faithfulness in the Use of this World's Goods

Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I possess; Grant me grace that I may honor you with my substance, and remembering the account which I must one day give, may be a faithful steward of your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer Not to Judge Others (by Jane Austen)

Heavenly Father, give me grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which my blessed savior has set me the highest example, and which, while it prepares me for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure the best enjoyment of what the world can give. Incline me, O God, to think humbly of myself, to be severe only in the examination of my own conduct, to consider my fellow creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity that I would desire from them myself. In Christ's name I pray,



Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.


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.

endless knot

Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:16 (Easy-to-Read Version)

The Ninth Commandment

You must not tell lies about other people.

Notes on the Scripture

Starting with the earliest English language Bible, this has usually been translated "you shall not give false testimony against your neighbor," and that is probably closer to the actual meaning of the commandment than the translation given above. The Ten Commandments is not a comprehensive code of conduct. It was not intended to cover every aspect of behavior.

The Hebrews are in a state of emergency. We have all seen movies where a group of strange people find themselves stranded and in some degree of danger. Even where they have the benefit of coming from a society, they find it difficult to agree on anything. Forming a society is hard, because every person knows the right thing to do — only it is different from everyone else's.

False Witness

The Ten Commandments are a basic code to get the great unruly mass of Hebrews started on the road to government. They need to have at least the most fundamental laws to govern their relationship with God and each other. So, God gives them a beginning. It is just enough for them to digest at one sitting. The ten laws are the irreducible, absolute bedrock of Hebrew civilization and, by extension, any civilization that would follow God's will.

They are thus things we should never do (or always be sure to do).

Can we say, then, that it is more important that we not give false testimony in court, than that we do not lie about where we were last night? Yes, we can. We often have a very powerful impulse to lie to authorities when such a lie would help out a friend. This would apply not just to a court, but to our boss, a teacher — anyone in authority.

Honesty is a well-known virtue in general. But when dishonesty results in injustice, where the wrong person is absolved or rewarded, and the deserving person is ignored or the guilty party absolved, it displeases God. We put ourselves above the law; we make our own interests more important than God.

It is a very hard thing to tell a friend or family member, "I am not going to lie to save you." It is hard not to lie to save ourselves from the consequences of our actions. But God puts false swearing on the same list as murder and stealing. Since God made this a bedrock rule of His law, it is a challenge we should prepare ourselves to meet.

Adam and Eve
A depiction of the first lie: The Temptation by Masolino da Panicale (Florence), ca. 1440.

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Proverbs 20:3: It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, since any fool can start a quarrel.

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