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Daily Devotion for February 15, 2014

<i>Life of Francis of Assisi</i> by Jose Benlliure y Gil, ca. 1910.
Life of Francis of Assisi by Jose Benlliure y Gil, ca. 1910.



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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.


Saturday is Oldies day, and today we get two great old voices singing Steal Away to Jesus. This lovely soft song describes the spiritual refuge that black slaves might find from the hardships of their life on earth.

For Each New Morning

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.


For Increase in Wisdom

Dear God, I pray that I may proceed with boldness in the few things I know as a certainty, especially that my eternal salvation can come only from Christ Jesus; that He is my Lord and Savior; and that through my repentance of sin and my faith in Him, I will be saved. May I never shrink from your Great Commission, oh Lord, to share the Gospel with the world, so that those with ears to hear it might join me in salvation; for this is your express command to me, and to all Christians.

But also, I pray that my mind might be open and that I may always have an attitude of seeking and learning, for I realize that on many matters I might be wrong and not know it; or there may be wisdom that I do not even realize exists, awaiting discovery, as I live and grow in my walk with you. Give me grace through your Holy Spirit always to seek wisdom, to admit where I have been mistaken, even in attitudes I have held my entire life. Make me fresh every day in your word, Holy God; and let the light of your wisdom shine throughout the world, that we all might grow in our knowledge and love of you, throughout our lives.



[May I be open to new wisdom and change of mind.]


Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, 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.

Nun of Saint Clare, in charity and poverty, at devotional prayer
The nuns of the Catholic Order of Saint Clare are especially known for their vow of poverty. (Clare was connected to Francis of Assisi.)

Proverbs 13:7-8 (The Message)

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
a plain and simple life is a full life.

The rich can be sued for everything they have,
but the poor are free of such threats.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 19:16-22 (ESV)

The Rich Young Man

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”

Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Notes on the Scripture

The account of this famous incident varies slightly in its details among the three Synoptic gospels. Only Matthew calls the man “young”, and Luke describes him as a “ruler”. So, in line with the principle of hermeneuticsHermeneutics is the set of rules by which the Bible is correctly interpreted. that the Bible cannot contradict itself, we must understand that all three are correct, but all three omit a detail. He is a rich young ruler, what we might call an aristocrat or highborn person with (probably) inherited wealth.

The man is fully in the mindset of the Old Testament, the first covenant by which men sought to be justified before God by the acts they perform. He is a good Jew of the day, but he has not heard Jesus' message. Which is to say, he might have heard the words Jesus said, but did not understand them, did not have “ears to hear”.

Perhaps, being young and rich and powerful, he thought he would drop by for an hour and get the God part of his week done, like a “Sunday Christian.” Or perhaps he thought he was so important, perhaps he was so accustomed to deference, that he didn't need to listen to the general lecture to the hoi polloiHoi polloi is actually a Greek word that means “the many”, referring especially to people. In modern English, it is a rather derogatory term for the “unwashed masses”., but would get personal tutoring.

Jesus is just a tiny bit sarcastic; He engages the man in wordplay. In Matthew, He replies with a question, “Why do you ask me about what is good?” In Mark and Luke, his question is even more pointed: “Why do you call me good?” Jesus knows the man hasn't been paying attention and, in his arrogance, expects to ask a simple question and get a simple reply from this scruffy holy man.

But we should not be too hard on him. He is seeking God and has done the right thing, according to what he has been taught. And Jesus gives him a straight answer. Basically, “stop loving your money and start loving me.” For how could a person show that he serves God and not money any more dramatically, than by giving away his money and joining a sect led by a man who did not even have a “place to lay his head”? (Matthew 8:19-20)

Christ, remember, would not allow his apostles to own even a second pair of sandals or a staff, or to collect any money; they would eat and find shelter only if someone offered it to them. (Matthew 10:5-11)

To my knowledge, there are no such people in Christianity today, at least in the West. Some Buddhist monks will accept donations only of food, but even they generally have a monastery in which to sleep. Francis of Assissi was notable for following Christ's instructions literally; he gave away his inheritance and, although he and his followers would sometimes sleep in an abandoned building, they often walked barefoot through the mountains, sleeping where they might.

At any rate, Christ gives the man a big pill to swallow. We can infer that Christ knew that the sin of greed or avarice was the biggest block standing between the man and salvation; for Christ's advice was advice of love, not some sort of challenge or punishment.

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1 Corinthians 13:9-10: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

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