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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 September 28, 2013

<i>Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee</i>, Ludolf Backhuysen, ca.1695
Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Ludolf Backhuysen, ca.1695. (See Full-size)



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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 Morning

For the bird who sings outside my window,
 For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,

Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To remember all of them, and know that you are here.

Prayer for the Rich and Famous

Heavenly Father, I pray especially today for those who have great wealth, for those who hold great power; for the rich, the famous, the beautiful, the talented, the intelligent: for all who have been given an unusual abundance of earthly gifts and enjoy the accolades of their fellow man. Guide them in the use of their gifts, O Lord, but especially, have mercy on them, for with great blessings come great temptation to pride.

I pray especially for those who are so blinded by earthly gifts that they deny Your name, or if they believe, are blinded to their sin by their earthly glory and cannot find their way to the light. Grant them the blessing of your Holy Spirit, and lead them to salvation. Let me always forgive them when their pride or privilege irritates my own pride; give me understanding and not judgment; lead me to love them as you have taught us to love all men. For judgment is yours alone, and they deserve your mercy no less than I. In Christ's name, I pray,



Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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>Angel</i> by Abbott Handerson Thayer, ca. 1895
Angel by Abbott Handerson Thayer, ca. 1895. Another fantastic angel by Thayer, although the model for this one is not known. (See Full-size)

Trust in God

I’m taking the Lord at His word, and I’m trusting Him to prove His Word. It’s kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket, but we’ve already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned?

~ Ed McCully

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV)

There are No Limits to Faith

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”

Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Notes on the Scripture

One of the oddities of the human brain is the difficulty we have remembering emotion, when the emotion has an external cause, and the even greater difficulty in grasping how powerfully a future event might affect our emotions. It is one reason some people refuse to evacuate an area about to be hit by a powerful hurricane; and then regret it, as soon as they are enveloped by a black storm of driving rain and wind so powerful that it shakes their house. Their brain may tell them that they will live; but that does not affect the terrible, gut-level fear one feels.

We are hormonal and instinctual. People ride roller coasters, and skydivers jump out of perfectly good airplanes, for just this reason: the emotion cannot be fully recreated outside the actual experience. But — we are smart enough to understand the phenomenon. If we fear heights, we do not plan to walk to the very edge of a cliff even if it is safe, because we recognize that a feeling will arise that is powerful and unpleasant.

And so it is with heaven and hell. We cannot feel, at a gut level, how horrible hell would be. Nor can we really understand the joy of heaven. But if we have wisdom, we have learned that when someone we trust tells us something is terribly painful or overwhelmingly frightful, to avoid it.

Jesus teaches his disciples a lesson in faith, not by words, but by gut-level emotional experience. The terror of being in a small boat during a great storm is horrendous. The disciples become hysterical. But Christ, who has promised them salvation, demonstrates his power. It is not his intention to save them, or anyone, from the peril of storms at sea, but rather, to show them that he has the power to fulfill his promise of eternal salvation of their souls, by demonstrating his power to save their bodies from destruction by nature.

One might think of a father, throwing a child into the air and catching him.

That is the historical part of the story, the lesson taught to the disciples. But there is a message for us, also. The incident is a metaphor created in actions rather than words. In the terrible “storms” of life, we must not lose our faith in Christ's power to save us. Those of great faith can face the greatest terror life can throw at them.

In 156 A.D. a Christian named Polycarp was brought to a stake to be burned alive, for refusing to renounce Christ. When they began to fasten him to the stake, he said, “Leave me thus. He who strengthens me to endure the flames will also enable me to stand firm at the stake without being fastened with nails.” As the woodpile was lighted Polycarp lifted up a final prayer to God, until the flames consumed him.

How powerfully can we develop faith? There is no limit. And there is no trial on earth that God will not give us the strength to overcome, if we have true faith. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

endless knot

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Proverbs 4:18-19: The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

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