Daily Devotion for November 1, 2013
All Saints Day
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.
This beautiful song is well known in Italy, although its origins are a mystery. The words are an ancient prayer; it was set to music in the 17th century.
Non fia mai che nell'inferno
Gran Dio, giammai
Music sometimes attributed to Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682)
Prayer at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sisters.
This in Christ's name, I pray,
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are you for giving me family and friends to be with me in times of joy and sorrow, to help me in days of need, and to rejoice with me in moments of celebration.
Father, I praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends, and in the love of your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Dedication to Faith in Christ
The Almighty Lord, who is a strong tower to all those who put their trust in him, to whom all things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, do bow and obey; Be now and evermore my defense; and make me know and feel, that there is no other Name under heaven given to man, in whom, and through whom, I may receive health and salvation, but only the Name 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.
Ezekiel 28:6-7 (ESV)
like the heart of a god,
Therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you,
the most ruthless of the nations;
and they shall draw their swords
against the beauty of your wisdom,
and defile your splendor.
Matthew 11:20-24 (ESV)
Woe to Unrepentant Cities
Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
Notes on the Scripture
We have been discussing the various tones or voice, or modes of speech, of Christ, and it is important to distinguish this passage from the preceding one. Christ does not rebuke these cities that have rejected Him, expecting they will change; he denounces them and predicts their destruction. The English translation is a little off-tone, for the Greek makes it sound more mournful and less angry.
The tone here is mournful or sorrowful condemnation. God loves us and does not want to see us perish.
When John came to the end of his Gospel, he wrote: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” The Gospels only hit a few high points of Jesus' ministry. Specifically, we have no knowledge of what had occurred in Chorazin and Bethsaida, to earn them special mention. We can speculate that something would have been written if Christ had encountered unusual violence or outrage, so most likely, they simply ignored him.
Tyre and Sidon, on the other hand, were famous for sin. They were ancient Phoenician cities, wealthy centers of early Mediterranean commerce, and they were like port towns everywhere: full of bars, prostitutes, and violence. Isaiah prophesied their devastation. So vehement was his denunciation that he devoted an entire chapterIsaiah, of course, did not write a “book”, much less divide it into chapters, which was done much later; but the point is still valid. It would be more accurate to say that he wrote a separate scroll about the wickedness and ultimate destruction of Tyre and Sidon., Isaiah 23, to them.
Consider the implications, then, when Jesus says that Chorazin and Bethsaida will suffer more than Tyre and Sidon. The Judean towns surely had nothing approaching the volume of sin in Tyre and Sidon; moreover, they were Jewish and observed the law of Moses (more or less). One must infer that to ignore Christ — not to hear Christ's word, not to accept him as one's Savior — is more terrible than to God than adultery and murder.
The capital sin is to do nothing. The difference between heaven and hell can be shown simply by visualizing Christ the Redeemer, looking out over Rio de Janeiro. The living look up and see their Redeemer. The dead look up and see a statue.