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Welcome back, Friend.

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 May 9, 2014

<i>Adoration in the Forest (detail)</i> by Fra Lippo Lippi, ca. 1459.
Adoration in the Forest (detail) by Fra Lippo Lippi, ca. 1459.



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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.


Many people consider Mozart’s Requiem Mass to be his greatest work. But whether or not that is true, the ethereal beauty of the Benedictus has certainly charmed listeners for over 200 years.

Prayer for the Morning

Heavenly Father, I do not fear this day, for you are with me wherever I might go, your light to shine ahead, your footsteps to lead the way. I do not fear this day, for your word will be my guide. Your strength will sustain me and your love revive me, this day and all days. I do not fear this day, for you are with me. In the name of Christ, I call upon you.



[I have no fear.]

Prayer for the Troubles of the Earth

God of comfort, these times seem so uncertain, so scary. The world seems darker than it has in the past and I am less sure of myself. Maybe that's a good thing; maybe now I am turning to you with a realization that I need you so much more and that my life is not in my own control.

Let me not forget all of those around the world who are frightened at this moment. Help those who are victims of terrorism and war. Be with those who have lost so much in the past year. Hold us all in your loving arms and let us be comforted by the strength and peace you make available to us through the birth of your son, Jesus; and thank you for all the many gifts you offer us, during our life on earth and for all eternity.



The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.


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.

St. Matthew by Franz Hals, ca. 1660.

The Explanation

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

~ C. S. Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 28:20 (ESV)

The Gospel of Matthew — Conclusion

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Notes on the Scripture

We have taken nine months, with a few short interruptions, to read the Gospel of Matthew thoroughly. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope that it enriched your life and faith as much as it did mine.

If I could only have one book of the Bible, Matthew would be it. It has the narrative and historical aspects of Mark, the human picture of Christ we associate with Luke, the long informative discourses of John, and of all the Gospels, excels at setting Jesus' life and works in the context of the Old Testament.

The other Gospels all have content that Matthew does not have; I do not mean to imply that it stands alone. John especially, with its powerful emphasis on the divinity of Christ, must be read for the fullest understanding of how Christ came to justify us before God. But Matthew is the most complete.

It is also by far the best-organized of the Gospels. It is structured into six sections of historical narrative, alternating with five sections of concentrated discourse tied to the chronological point at which they occur. My favorite thing about Matthew is these five sections of discourse, each of which can stand on its own as a work of teaching.

1) The first is also the most famous, the Sermon on the Mount, Chapters 5-7. It is beautiful, it is shockingly radical, and it is the heart of Christian living. Can you imagine what the world would be like if people actually followed it? Can you imagine what the church would be like if Christians actually followed it?

2) The second, Ch. 10, is Jesus' instructions to his disciples when He first sends them out on their own (in pairs). Even if we of the 21st century cannot bring ourselves to follow it literally, we might take it as a goal and ask ourselves, “How can I bring my life closer to Christ's actual teaching?” We compromise, but we can tilt our compromise more towards Christ.

3) The third is the great lecture on parables in Ch. 13. This is a discourse of understanding more than instruction. It is difficult to summarize, but it needs to be read on a regular basis. It encourages us step back and think about the interrelationship of Christianity with the world. It objectifies Christian life and sets our beliefs and actions into context.

4) In Ch. 18, we see instructions and clarifications about Christian life, especially about the need for continuing innocence and forgiveness. It is a refresher course, in effect, for people more mature in their faith.

5) The final discourse, Ch. 23-25, comprises Christ's final instructions before the beginning of the passion. It is, in essence, the most important prophetic book in the Bible. Ch. 23 is a vitriolic denunciation of hypocrisy and is just as true today as it was 2000 years ago; Christ outdoes even Amos and Jeremiah in colorful, outraged invective. And still, it goes unheeded. Ch. 24 and 25 are prophecy of prediction rather than criticism, telling us what to expect in the future and how to prepare for it.

See Page Two for discussion about what is coming next.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

James 4:11 (ESV): Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

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