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Daily Devotion for September 10, 2013

Interior of St. Peter's by Giovanni Panini, ca. 1731. The well-bred Panini sandwiched a visit to the Vatican in between trips to Bologna and Asiago.



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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.


I felt in my heart that somebody needed to hear this today.

Morning Prayer of George Washington

Almighty God, and most merciful father, who did commanded the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day; receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee. I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of the day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor.

Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do my own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou require of me.

And since thou art a God of pure eyes, and will be sanctified in all who draw near to thee, who does not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts: Pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense.

And as thou would hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou have sent it.

Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord,


Parting Prayer

Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.


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

Proverbs 19:20 (ESV)

Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)

Sermon on the Mount - Judging Others

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Notes on the Scripture

The great William Barclay, in The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Matthew (Edinburgh, 1956), summed up this passage about as well as anyone could: “We have quite enough to do to rectify our own lives without seeking censoriously to rectify the lives of others. We would do well to concentrate on our own faults, and to leave the faults of others to God.”

The term “characteristic British understatement” comes to mind: where he says “we would do well”, one must remember: Minding our own faults, and ignoring the faults of others, has been commanded by God. The Bible does not entirely rule out the correction of faults in others — see Galatians 6:1, for example — but we err so heavily in our tendency to pass judgment on other people, quickly and frequently, that we do better not to judge others at all.

Most of Jesus' parables and analogies are grounded in realism, but here, He creates a virtual cartoon; a person with a log or beam in his eye, utterly blind, trying to find a speck of dust in someone else's eye so as to remove it. But this ludicrous example carries with it three reasons why criticizing the faults of others and trying to correct them is misguided.

First, just as a person with a log in his eye could not see, we can never really know all the facts about another person. History regales us with story after story of a person going off half-cocked, mocking another person, when the ignorant critic is utterly wrong. And we never know all the facts about another person; our judgments of other people are always wrong, because our evidence is always incomplete.

Second, the vision of a person with some huge object in his eye is distorted; and, indeed, we always see truth through the distortion of our personal prejudices and experiences. Truth exists independent of us and is not limited by our knowledge, but our judgment is. We see truth, as Paul so eloquently put it, dimly, as if in an ancient mirror made with uneven glass: “For now we see through a glass, darkly;” (1 Cor. 13:12 (KJV))

But most of all, even more than the powerful forces of ignorance and prejudice that rule human judgment, is Christ's ultimate point: Nobody is righteous enough to judge someone else. Judgment of others is always hypocritical. We come again to humility, but this time, the humility has teeth: Christ will judge us as we judge others.

Our glory, our worth, and our happiness is guaranteed by God; so learning not to judge others ultimately comes down to the strength of our faith. The more certain we are that God is going to bring us to a place of perfect joy, the less defensive we become about our value in comparison to other people in the fleeting moments of time. If we know that righteousness is ours only through Christ, we see clearly that self-righteousness is erroneous and unnecessary.

<i>Lindesfarne Gospel</i>, cover page
Lindesfarne Gospel, cover page. This Gospel was illuminated in a monastery off the coast of Scotland around 700 A.D.

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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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