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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 June 10, 2014

<i>Saint Matthew</i> by Pompeo Batoni, ca. 1708.
Saint Matthew by Pompeo Batoni, ca. 1708.



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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.


To Show Christ's Love Today

Oh Holy God, who has commanded us to love one another without fail, purify my soul. Let your Holy Spirit empower me throughout this day, to be obedient to the truth at every moment, so that I might love my brothers and sisters earnestly, from a pure heart.

And let me always remember that I have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of your Son; born again into a life of perfect love, obedience, and service. And if I am confused or do not know what to think or do, let me think of your Son, Jesus Christ, and ask myself what He would have done. For I will follow him even to the point of suffering and death, confident in his resurrection and the eternal reward for those that do follow him in sincere belief.



[When I am confused, the Holy Spirit will bring me wisdom.]

Prayer of Praise (from Isaiah 45)

You are the Lord, and there is no other; apart from You there is no God. From the rising to the setting of the sun, I know there is none besides You. You formed the earth; You made the earth to be inhabited, and you created me in your image to dwell upon it. All praise to the great Creator: You are the Lord, and there is no other.


Blessing of Mark

O  Sovereign and almighty Lord, bless all your people, and all your flock. Give your peace, your help, and your love unto us your servants, the sheep of your fold, that we may be united in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one hope of our calling, in your divine and boundless love.


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>St. Matthew and the Angel</i>, Rembrandt von Rijn ca. 1660.
St. Matthew and the Angel, Rembrandt van Rijn ca. 1660.

Proverbs 12:15-16 (ESV)

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.

The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 5:38-42, 15:7-11 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil.

But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

*       *       *

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Notes on the Scripture

Overview of the New Testament: (1) The Gospel of Matthew

(Even though we just finished up with Matthew, we wanted to do a complete summary of all the books of the New Testament; so if some of this is old hat, forgive us!)

Matthew is not the oldest of the four gospels — Mark is — so why is it the first book of the New Testament? It's hard to say, but personally, if I could only have one book of the Bible, it would have to be Matthew; so perhaps the church fathers who compiled the canonical Bible felt the same way.

Angel illuminated Bible

Matthew might actually be one of the last books of the New Testament to be written, other than John's writings; nobody is quite sure. It is good enough, for most purposes, to simply say that Matthew wrote it, and we will adopt this as a convention; however, various signs in it indicate that it was written by some extraordinary individual later on (perhaps after Matthew was dead). We know that the Apostle Matthew, who was educated, took extensive notes of Christ's teachings in Hebrew. Most likely, the author of Matthew combined these notes, translated into Greek, with teachings from Mark and other sources, into the most comprehensive of the four gospels, and then called it the Gospel according to Matthew because of the unique source material.

Matthew is different from Mark and Luke (the other “Synoptic” Gospels) in several ways. First, Matthew is not as chronological or historical as Mark and Luke. While they seek to give a biography of Jesus' adult life, Matthew is not as painstaking about who did what, and when; he is more concerned to tell a story with cohesive themes. At points where Matthew differs in details with Luke or (especially) Mark, it is wise to think of the other Gospel as a more accurate historical record.

The thematic treatment reflects the purpose of the Gospel: to bring the good news to the Jews, convincing them that Jesus was the Messiah. Matthew has been called the “Gospel to the Jews”, and the term is apt. Beginning with chapter 1 verse 1 and continuing throughout, Matthew links the life of Jesus to Old Testament prophecy. There are more Old Testament quotes in Matthew than the other three Gospels combined.

Matthew begins with a long genealogy showing that Jesus' lineage extended directly to David. While the modern reader usually just skips over it, it was a critical proof to the Jews of the first century, for it showed them that Jesus had the right, by lineage, to be the anointed King of Israel. The many Old Testament prophecies are tied to events in Jesus' life to show, also, that He was the messiah foretold by the great prophets of Judaism for over a thousand years.

The final outstanding characteristic of Matthew is its organization, which is unique. It is divided into sections of biographical/historical narrative, interspersed with five blocks of teaching on a single general subject. The most famous of these, the Sermon on the Mount, takes up three full chapters (5-7).

endless knot

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2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV): For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions . . . .

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