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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 July 19, 2014

Synagogue mural by Samuel Gruber, ca. 1910.
Synagogue mural by Samuel Gruber, ca. 1910. The “Lion of Judah” (David) upholding the Ten Commandments.



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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.


John Hurt was the definition of “untutored genius”. A dirt-poor black sharecropper in the Great Depression, he developed his distinctive soothing sound because he couldn't afford real guitar strings.

Celtic Prayer for the Morning

I  will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven; Without malice, without jealousy, without envy, without fear; without terror of any one under the sun, but the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle thou in my heart within a flame of love to my neighbour, to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all; To the brave, to the coward, to the man in the street, O Son of the loveliest Mary, from the lowliest thing that lives to the Name that is highest of all. In the name of Christ, I pray.


Thanks for the Life of Christ

Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He lived and walked as one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. The world has seen no other love like this, for you willingly bore the pain of mortality, that we might be saved.

The beating, torture, and painful death that Christ suffered at our hands was a terrible thing; yet you considered his victory in overcoming that death worth the cost, so powerful was your love. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,



[The pain Jesus suffered.]

Blessing for the Day

Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always,


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>Tanakh</i> (Jewish Bible), North Africa, possibly ca. 1200.
Tanakh (Jewish Bible), North Africa, possibly ca. 1200.

Joshua 3:10-11 (NKJV)

And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites: Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan.”

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 11:9-13, 41-43 (ESV)

The Story of Solomon (20) — Solomon’s Punishment

Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

         *         *         *

Now the rest of the acts of Solomon and whatever he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? Thus the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David, and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place.

Notes on the Scripture

God, when He was creating the first covenant with the Hebrews, had a mind-boggling array of laws concerning their duties as a nation, personal conduct, and worship, down to a number of tiny specific details. As important as all the commandments and laws may have been, there seem to have been two things that He valued as primary; or perhaps these are simply where the Hebrews failed most badly. First, to live in total faith and fear of Him, and no other god(s). Secondly, to conquer and rule Canaan at His direction, and thus fulfill His great promise to Abraham.

Rabbits jousting, from Smithfield Decritals ca. 1300
from Smithfield Decritals, ca. 1300

The importance of the second rule is hard for most people to grasp. We were raised on a Christian morality and internalize it as eternal truth. But it is not timeless; Christianity began with Jesus. God commanded the Hebrews to conquer Canaan by the sword; it was their duty to God to accomplish His will. A Jew living in Israel in 40 B.C. lived under a different covenant — a different set of commandments from God — than the same person in 40 A.D. Christ fulfilled the old covenant and brought the new. But we cannot go back and criticize, or even comprehend, the Old Testament by imposing upon it values that originated with Christ.

The central importance of conquering Canaan colors the end of Solomon's reign. Solomon, although he had built the great Temple and loved the Lord (especially early on), gave in to the worship of idols, because of his foreign wives; yet, God did not take away Solomon's kingship of all Israel because of His love for David! Why did God love David so much? He was a murderer and adulterer, offences that we today find terribly serious.

But David did two things right: He worshipped God and placed his faith in Him, and he conquered — as the Hebrews had failed to do for 400 years before him — the entirety of Canaan. So Solomon was the pinnacle king in the history of Israel in many ways, especially his inordinate wisdom and his fabulous wealth and power; but it was David to whom Jesus would trace his ancestry, not Solomon; and David whom God loved. Nobody before David, and nobody after, did what God had commanded: put all of Canaan under Hebrew rule. The strength of God's love for David proves, by implication, the importance of His commandment that the Jews subjugate and inhabit Palestine.

The Lord has expressed his wrath; Israel will be taken from Solomon's heir. The history of the two kingdoms is extremely long and complex — there were 20 kings of Judah and 19 of Israel after Solomon, not to mention 5 major and 12 minors prophets with separate books — so we will follow a much-abbreviated version.

endless knot

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Galatians 5:26 (J.B. Phillips NT): Let us not be ambitious for our own reputations, for that only means making each other jealous.

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