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Welcome back, Friend.

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 July 24, 2013

<i>Wounded Angel</i> by Hugo Simberg ca. 1903.
Wounded Angel by Hugo Simberg ca. 1903. This darkly symbolic comment on modern society was voted Finland’s “National Painting” in 2006.



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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.


Prayer for the Guidance During the Day

Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,


For Those Who Protect Us

Almighty God, I commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad; for those who fight fires and crime; and for all those who put themselves in danger for our protection. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.


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.

<i>Religion Enthroned</i> by Frederic and Charles Lamb, ca. 1900.
Religion Enthroned by Frederic and Charles Lamb, ca. 1900.

Proverbs 28:9 (The Message)

God has no use for the prayers
of the people who won’t listen to him.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 4:8-11 (NKJV)

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Notes on the Scripture

As we mentioned yesterday, there are two valid ways to interpret the physical events of the temptation: That Satan physically flew Jesus to several places, or that the battle took place internally in Jesus' human mind.

This second idea is not “modernist” theology, which feels free to rewrite the Bible. Even the more conservative theologians agree that Christ was fully human and had a human mind, which would have been as broken down as his body after his long fast in the desert. It is this very humanity that makes him so incredible, because it allowed him to be as fully tempted as you or I.

The emphasis on Christ's internal struggle highlights the power of the Spirit within him. He is fully human but can remain sinless, can resist temptation, no matter how badly he is tortured; even if his brain is rendered “broken” — and the purpose of torture is usually to do precisely that, to break down a person's mind so that their resistance to temptation is destroyed — Christ will not give in. He is incapable of sin.

The third temptation is very different from the first two, for Satan did not tempt Christ to clear sinfulness, or offer Christ a reward, in the first two. In the third temptation, however, he dangles the ultimate bait: He offers to give Christ complete ownership of the world. This highlights Satan's power on earth, for one must own something to offer it as a gift. And indeed, Satan has dominion over the riches and lands of the world. Giving in to temptation and sin can bring us these very things: earthly power over other people, wealth, status, ownership.

Why did the covenant of Moses fail? God offered the Hebrews what Satan offers Christ, complete dominion over (part of) the world, if they would worship Him. But they did not — the could not — hold up their end of the bargain. They could not resist sin, could not resist Satan's relentless, powerful gift of persuasiveness.

The third temptation is a paradigm for what every one of us faces every day. Satan tries to convince us that we can better our life on earth by giving in to him. Perhaps William Jennings Bryan overstated the point when he said, “No one can earn a million dollars honestly,” but he makes the same point as today's Scripture. We might commit a small theft by omitting to include $100 cash payment on our income taxes; small sin, small reward. What might we do for $100 billion and absolute political control of the world? To have every man and woman do our bidding?

Christ will not compromise with evil for anything this world has to offer. So the practical lesson of today's Scripture is: Refuse to compromise. “Put on the helmet of salvation and grasp the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) We will be forgiven for our sins, but we must not wink at them, pretend they do not exist. We may compromise where Christ did not, but we should not fool ourselves.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 3:16: As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

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