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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for June 4, 2013

Angel by Howard Finster, ca. 1983. Finster was a renown primitive or "unschooled" artist in rural Georgia. (See Full-size)



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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.


If you feel rushed or anxious, try this: Give yourself to this music. Close your eyes (or watch the video), empty your mind, and let the words of this old Negro spiritual wash over you like a shower.

Prayer for the Morning

Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.


Count Your Blessings

Count your blessings, not your crosses; count your gains instead of losses.
Count your joys instead of woes; count your friends instead of foes.
Count your smiles instead of tears; count your courage, not your fears.
Count full years instead lean; Count kind deeds instead of mean.
Count your health instead of wealth; Love your neighbor as yourself.

Prayer to Treat Others Well

Father, thank you for bringing me into your family. May I never disappoint you in the way I treat others. Teach me to show love, patience, and acceptance to all who come to me; let me show peace of soul and firm conviction that your will governs all. And I pray that others may see in me the qualities of character that can only be attributed to your presence in my life. Make my life a window for your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect your love to all I meet. To you be the glory and the honor, forever and ever, through Jesus my Lord.



May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that I may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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.

Devotional painting of
Ancient brooch depicting a Hebrew priest.

Proverbs 24:11-12 (The Message)

Rescue the perishing;
don’t hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,”
will that get you off the hook?

Someone is watching you closely, you know —
Someone not impressed with weak excuses.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 28 (ESV)

The Priests’ Garments

[Excerpts are given here. If you want to read all of Exodus 28, click the link or go to your own Bible.]

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests — Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. . . .

You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it — of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree. . . .

Notes on the Scripture

When it comes to getting dressed up, the Pope has nothing on the priests of Israel! The garments ordained by God are elaborate, rich, and expensive.

As we have said many times, we are no longer subject to the letter of the law of Moses, but if God ordained such extraordinarily sumptuous garments for His priests, Protestants should have no word of criticism for the ornate and expensive garments worn by priests of other denominations. We may want to worship, and it is fully within Christ's teachings to worship, in the simplest of settings, with the teacher dressed simply; and the truth cuts both ways, for such a setting warrants no criticism from the high Catholic or Orthodox worshipper.

More generally, however, there is a lesson to be learned from the reasons given for creating such extraordinary garments: "for glory and beauty." It is tempting, when our minds run along a certain track, to view beauty as entirely a sensual delight, and therefore to decide that spending time on the creation of it as categorically sinful, or at least suspect; a waste of time if not outright wrong. But, where beauty is created or enjoyed to the glory of God, this chapter puts shut to the argument.

God commanded the Hebrews to make these vestments for glory and beauty. It would thus appear that God has commanded, or at the very least authorized, the creation of beauty in His name. It will not do to stretch this thought very far, but it is well to remember.

Also, there is room for personal taste. We might, actually, find extraordinary beauty in the white painted room of a simple meeting house.

But what we cannot say, given these chapters of Exodus, is that beauty is by definition ungodly or un-Christian. Yes, we must ever be on our guard against vanity and pride; there is nothing here that tells the congregation to wear expensive gold ornaments or seek personal glorification. Just the opposite. But where beauty is created to God's glory, this chapter would appear to encourage it.

We are always reminded of the variety of spiritual gifts, notably explained to us in 1 Corinthians 12. If one person would live in the wilderness eating locusts and wearing a robe of hair, and another would sing or write a beautiful song, or make a beautiful piece of visual art, so be it. We work to the glory of God in many ways.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 1:21-25: For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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