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Daily Devotion for September 2, 2013

Labor Day (US & Canada)

<i>Gospel of John</i> with a painting of the Evangelist, Ethiopian Bible ca. 800 A.D.? This Bible is written in Ge’ez, the ancient dead language of Ethiopia.  The Bible is housed in Abba Penwolton Monastery, the first monastery in Africa, built around 300 A.D.
Gospel of John with a painting of the Evangelist, Ethiopian Bible ca. 800 A.D.? This Bible is written in Ge’ez, the ancient dead language of Ethiopia. The Bible is housed in Abba Penwolton Monastery, the first monastery in Africa, built around 300 A.D.



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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 Guidance

Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.

The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,


A Prayer of Repentance

O  Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Prayer of Resolve

I  bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.


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.

endless knot

Ephesians 4:28 (KJV)

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 6:13 (KJV)

Sermon on the Mount - Lord’s Prayer [7]

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Notes on the Scripture

There is no verse in the Bible that gives theologians more fits than this one. Asking God not to lead us into temptation presumes that He does lead us into temptation. But we have to read no further than the first chapters of Genesis to learn that it is Satan, not God, who tempts us into sin. Is this a misprint?

There are two lines of explanation for the paradox. One school explains that it actually means, “Do not let me be led into temptation”, akin to Psalm 141:9, “Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers.” In fact, James 1:13 instructs us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”

The problem with this explanation is obvious: That isn't what the verse says. We don't change or ignore the words in the Bible just because they puzzle us (or because we don't like what they say!). Instead, we try to figure out what they mean.

The better explanation lies in the difference between a temptation and a trial. The Greek word translated “temptation” here connotes a test, a trial of strength or determination. There is not an accurate English word to translate this idea. We would get closer, perhaps, if we prayed “do not lead me into trials where I will face temptation, but if and when you do, I pray for your strength to deliver me from the evil one.”

Losing your job and going bankrupt is a trial; the thought of stealing money to solve your poverty is a temptation. Discovering your spouse is cheating on you is a trial; hating him, shooting him, or having your own affair in revenge are temptations.

Recall the first words about the temptation of Christ: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) The Spirit did lead Christ into what we are calling a “trial where we will face temptation”, and He will sometimes lead us into such trials.

This is what the Lord's Prayer has in mind. We ask God to spare us such trials so that we will not be tempted to sin, even though we know that, often, our request will not be granted. We cannot understand God's infinite wisdom, and must simply accept such trials as are given to us, in faith that God ultimately has our best interest at heart. There is an additional lesson, however, a comforting one, we can learn from the temptation of Christ: God does not ask us to go through something He hasn't suffered through Himself.

All of us will face temptation, and all of us will sin. (Romans 3:23) God may not always grant the first part of this petition, but He will always grant the second part: the very reason Christ endured His trials was to save us from evil. We have an infinitely powerful friend who will step in, on our side, if we only believe in Him.

<i>Lead Us Not into Temptation</i>, Childrens
Childrens' Prayer Card ca. 1920.

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV): No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon

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