Daily Devotion for August 10, 2013
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.
Our Saturday “Oldies” song was written by Bob Dylan after he found Christ, performed here by Aaron Neville. It is wondrous, indeed, to hear Dylan’s inimitable poetic style in a gospel song.
You might like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You might be a socialite with a long string of pearls,
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, serve somebody,
Serve somebody, serve somebody
It might be the devil or it might be the Lord;
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
You might be a rock 'n' roll man, prancing on the stage,
Plenty of drugs at your command and women in a cage,
You might be a businessman or some high degree thief,
They may call you 'Doctor', they may call you 'Chief',
Now, you may be a State Trooper, you might be a young Turk,
You may even be the head of some great big TV network.
You may be rich or poor and you may be blind or chained,
You might be living in another country under another name,
Maybe a construction worker working on a home,
Might be living in a mansion, you might live in a dome;
You may own guns, you may even own tanks,
You may be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks,
Now you can call me Terry or you might call me Moore,
You may call me David or you might call me Coe,
You can call me RJ or you can call me Ray,
You can call me anything, I don't care what you say,
Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan
Prayer for the Day (inspired by Jane Austen)
Give me grace Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address you with my heart, as with my lips. You are everywhere present, from you no secret can be hidden. May the knowledge of this, teach me to fix my thoughts on you, with reverence and devotion, that I may not pray in vain.
May I now, and on each return of morning, consider how I will spend the day ahead; what thoughts will prevail in my mind? What words will I speak? Will my actions reflect your will, or my own? How far can I acquit myself of evil, and live in the goodness and beauty of my Lord Christ?
Will I think irreverently of you? Will I disobey your commandments? Will I neglect and make excuses for any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline me to ask my heart these questions oh! God, throughout the day, to save me from deceiving myself by pride or vanity.
And give me always a thankful sense of the blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear me almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.
Prayer for Those with Harmful Obsessions
Heavenly Father, I remember today all the many people who damage or destroy their lives with one of the thousand obsessions that can plague the human mind: The alcoholic and addict; those with eating disorders; those with sexual compulsions; those who are driven to obsessive gambling; the superstitious; those who hoard obsessively and live in squalor; those whose only concern is their appearance, or wealth; or any of the myriad, baffling, and often bizarre behavioral disorders that may affect and burden the lives of your people.
Help me first to remember, when I am shocked by their behavior or critical of them, that they are your beautiful children whom you love. Give them the strength to seek help, guide them to people who can help them, and flood them with the power of your Holy Spirit, that they may control their disorders and find peace and contentment on this earth, and the eternal joy that awaits the faithful. I pray this in the name of Christ, who loved beyond all love and was always pleased to heal those who came to Him in faith.
May God Almighty send me his light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may His mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
~ Mark Twain
Matthew 5:21-26 (ESV)
Sermon on the Mount - Anger
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Notes on the Scripture
Having told his listeners that the law must still be met, and that their righteousness must exceed that of the holiest Jews of the day, Christ proceeds to illustrate his point: He examines several laws of Moses and, rather than minimizing them, pushes them far beyond the boundaries of their literal meaning. In this first instance, the letter of the law prohibits murder. Jesus recites the law and then digs into the underlying concept, the spirit of the law, to make it even more rigorous!
We know that, eventually, Christ will prove one of the great theological points of his ministry: It is impossible for a human being to act well enough to satisfy God. But the new theological framework that will ultimately arise, finalized by his resurrection, is only one part of the message. He also gives an immediate and concrete moral message. He directly challenges the listener to change.
If you are going to call yourself a Christian, are you ready to change? Do you think you are going to heaven? Well, read what Christ just said:
When is the last time you were angry with someone? When was the last time you called somebody an idiot, either to his face, or behind his back, or even just in your mind? For most of us, probably the last time we read a newspaper or drove a car!
For some reason, nobody thinks that they should be punished for violating the law. We complain if we get a traffic ticket. Somehow, our self-righteous brain convinces us that it is unfair for us to get a ticket, even if we were violating the law. But we still have to pay the ticket. And in just the same way, we think our anger is justified and okay. Well guess what? God has a different idea!
We think we are going to heaven when we die. But here, Jesus Christ himself says that people who call others “you fool” are going to hell. And if we are honest, we have done exactly that — and most likely within the last day or two, if not the last hour.
Christ here calls upon every person who would find God to do battle with their own sinful nature. We are to stop criticizing the foolish or irritating words and actions of others and begin to criticize, instead, our own reaction to them.
Anger instead of understanding, irritation instead of acceptance, lashing out instead of making peace — these are the consequences of original sin. And if we are to find heaven, we must, every day with every tool we can muster, fight our anger and self-righteousness. For if we are not willing to try to change ourselves, every day and with all of our power, we are liable for the fires of hell.