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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 August 15, 2013

Solemnity of the Assumption (Catholic)

The Prophet Micah, detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van EycK, c. 1432
The Prophet Micah, detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, c. 1432



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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 to Walk with Christ Today

Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.

Please help me today to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Please let your Holy Spirit nudge me and remind me throughout my day. I know that as I apply what your word says I will find freedom. Please show me what I need to focus on right where I walk today, Father. Help me to be intent on practicing what you reveal to me. I know there is blessing in doing things your way. I give you my will today to want to do what you show me. In the name of Jesus,


Prayer for Peace

I  thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.

Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.


Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)

Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!


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 by Titian, Christ forgives the thief on the cross
Christ and the Good Thief, Titian, c. 1566

John 16:33 (NIV)

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 5:38-42 (ESV)

The Sermon on the Mount - Turn the Other Cheek

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

Notes on the Scripture

This may be the most difficult passage in the entire Bible. It is difficult even to teach or write about it, because anyone who teaches it is a hypocrite.

Nobody follows it. Churches may read it, but they universally make exceptions to it that cannot be supported by Scripture. The Amish and Quakers, as well as some missionaries and orders, at least try to follow it — if you literally slap an Amish person in the face, chances are he will literally turn the other cheek. But even they fail, ultimately. (If this interests you, you might start by Googling, say, “Quaker lawsuit” or “Amish litigation”.)

In fact, if we want to see how our minds work to rationalize our non-compliance with Scripture — how difficult it is to read the Bible as it is written — think about a government suppression of religion. For example, the State of Pennsylvania wants to require the Amish to conform to the state building code, by forcing them to install smoke detectors in their homes.

Those who side with the Amish say that they have a right, under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to engage in a sincere religious practice of building their homes free of electronic devices. Those who side with the state say that smoke detectors will save the lives of Amish children. And so on.

But what does Jesus say? Jesus says, we do not litigate. We want the passage to have exceptions. Surely, our brain tells us, there are cases where the rule does not apply. But there is no such case.

We must read the central tenet until we grasp the truth of what Christ instructed: “Do not resist the evil (person).” This is utterly counter-intuitive for a “good” person and, as a result, confusing. The other side of the coin is sometimes a little easier to grasp: Trust in God and God alone. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Consider the life of Christ himself. Did he ever refuse to give up any item to someone who asked him for it? No. When he was hit, did he defend himself? No, and in fact, when Peter attempted to defend him, he stopped him. (Luke 22:47-51) Did Jesus ever try to influence Judean politics? Fight a war? Defend himself in court? Again, no: Christ followed his own teaching, to the point of allowing himself to be convicted of a ridiculous crime, beaten and executed.

None of us has the strength of faith to follow Christ 100%, but we can certainly admit to ourselves, and to God, when we fall short, and ask for forgiveness. We can grow closer to Christ during our lives on earth.

So, let us put these words in our heart and meditate upon them every day, without twisting them to fit our preconceptions, without rationalizing our conduct. We may speak the truth, we may teach, we may love our fellow man; but our battle is against the evil in ourselves, not against other people who have given into it. It is a battle we cannot win; we must trust God to fight it and have faith that He will prevail.

endless knot

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Psalm 55:22: Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

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