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Daily Devotion for May 13, 2013

<i>Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery</i> by Pieter Brueghel ca. 1565.
Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, ca. 1565. This is actually an oil painting done in near monochrome. The skillful use of light and dark makes it appear three-dimensional, almost like a carving in stone.



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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.


Have I Done Any Good? An inspiring message from Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert, as they perform an updated version of an old hymn.

Celtic Prayer for the Morning

I  will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven; Without malice, without jealousy, without envy, without fear; without terror of any one under the sun, but the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle thou in my heart within a flame of love to my neighbour, to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all; To the brave, to the coward, to the man in the street, O Son of the lovliest Mary, from the lowliest thing that lives to the Name that is highest of all. In the name of Christ, I pray.


Prayer for Deliverance

Dear Lord, grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.


Community of Prayer

I  pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.


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.

The Holy Spirit as a dove, devotional painting


Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 21:12-17 (ESV)

Laws of Moses - Capital Crimes

“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.

“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.

“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

“Whoever curses [or dishonors] his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Notes on the Scripture

The law makes an early definition of the difference between murder and manslaughter. A person who accidentally or in the heat of a moment kills another can seek sanctuary. He would not get off scot-free. Eventually there would be six sanctuaries in Israel, run by the priestly tribe of Levites, where a killer could flee. He would thus avoid hot revenge from relatives and there would be time for the facts to be sorted out. This served as a sort of jail where a murderer's fate could be decided when the facts were better known and there was time for passions to cool.

The other verses puts some teeth into the fifth commandment. A curse, it should be noted, does not mean angry words, name-calling or heated argument; a curse is a wish, stated to a non-earthly entity (whether God or some heathen god or force of nature) that a person die or suffer some grave injury.

Kidnapping is also a capital offense. Apparently, kidnapping for ransom was not common; in the day, kidnappers made their money by selling the victim into slavery, as Joseph's brothers did to him. (Genesis 37:18-36)

Daily Prayer tries to steer clear of hot-button political issues, such as capital punishment and abortion, unless there is explicit direction from the Bible itself, when read without preconception. We preach Christ crucified, as Paul says, and the brotherhood of those who confess Christ. Christ, and Peter and Paul after Him, pointedly avoided politics. They would sway opinion and bring people to the truth by persuasion, never by trying to take earthly power or have laws passed.

Today's lesson provides a clear example of the dangers of politicizing the Bible. Death of an offender was authorized by God Himself as the punishment for murder. But consider, it was also the punishment authorized for striking a parent, or for adultery. Differentiating between the various crimes punishable by death in the law of Moses is something we do in our minds or in society, outside of Biblical teaching. The criminal code of no nation is taken from the Bible, but from the minds of men, albeit often trying to do the best they can to be just.

The matter is made one of conscience by Christ Himself, particularly the famous account in John of the woman taken in adultery and the line, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone". (John 8:1-11)

Would Christ have done the same for a notorious and unrepentant mass murderer? Well, we don't know what He would have done. We can pray, we can speculate, but opinions on capital punishment are not the message of Christianity.

What we cannot do, and what is clear in the Bible, is that we cannot argue in hatred and rage. If someone is executed and you oppose it, pray for his soul and pray for those who executed him, loving them as your brothers; Christ will judge them — and us. Did not Christ pray for those who murdered Him? (Luke 23:34)If a heinous criminal is not executed and you think he should be, again, pray that he may be forgiven and will find Christ before he dies. It is not for us to pass judgment, or even to arrogate to ourselves a prediction of how Christ will judge other people.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

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Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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