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Daily Devotion for July 22, 2014

<i>Exodus</i> by Marc Chagall, ca. 1952.
Exodus by Marc Chagall, ca. 1952. It is rather unexpected to see a Jew, like Chagall, putting the crucified Christ in any painting, much less a depiction of the Exodus. But Chagall had a deep love of Jesus and thought He personified the ultimate act of persecuting the innocent. He managed to anger both Jews (by painting Christ) and Christians (by being a Jew who decorated churches).



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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.


Memories of the simple faith of our forebears.
Come, come, come, come . ..

Morning Prayer of George Washington

Almighty God, and most merciful father, who commanded the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day; receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee. I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of the day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor.

Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do my own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou require of me.

And since thou art a God of pure eyes, and will be sanctified in all who draw near to thee, who does not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts: Pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense.

And as thou would hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou have sent it.

Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord,


Strength of my Heart

Strength of my heart, I need not fail,
Not mine to fear but to obey,
With such a Leader, who could quail?
Thou art as Thou wert yesterday.
Strength of my heart, I rest in Thee,
Fulfil Thy purposes through me.



[Mine not to fear, but to obey.]


Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ 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.

endless knot

Blue Latin Cross

Proverbs 5 (ESV)

My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.

For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say,

“How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.”

Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.

Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Notes on the Scripture

The Wisdom of Solomon - Wise and Foolish People in Proverbs (2)

. . . continued from yesterday.

After praising the general benefit of godliness and wisdom, Proverbs 2 teaches two more specific evils that the wise will avoid, but the fool will embrace: First, the evil man walks in darkness. (Prov. 2:11-15) Just as in Psalm 1 — “Blessed is the man that walketh not in counsel of the ungodly . . . “ — the first specific advice Proverbs gives is to avoid the blandishments of evil men, to turn a deaf ear to them.

Donkey from Book of Hours
French Book of Hours
ca. 1054

Second is the evil woman, who flatters with words. (Prov. 2:16-19) This first reference to the seductress applies to simple adultery, sleeping with a woman other than one's wife. In other verses, however, the instruction is more aimed at liaisons (including marriage) with women from idolatrous indigenous tribes in Canaan, an act specifically forbidden by Jehovah (Deut. 7:3-4). This was the constant source of problems throughout Hebrew history. So critical is the avoidance of liaisons with the “strange woman” that Proverbs returns to it repeatedly, including today's passage (the entirety of Proverbs 5).

The advice still applies to us, today, but like so much of the Old Testament has undergone transmutation because of the New Covenant. There is no longer any discouragement of marrying outside one's “tribe”; rather, since God's grace is now open to all who confess His name, we should read this as advising against marriage to non-Christians. (E.g. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Proverbs differentiates between the God-fearing Hebrew woman and her idle sister, as well; this distinction forms the magnificent finale of Proverbs, in Lemuel’s famous paean to womanly virtue: “her price is far above rubies.” (Prov. 31:10-31) Again and again, Proverbs warns the wise against adultery and prostitution in the more general sense of sleeping with another’s wife or a prostitute, whether she be Hebrew or Gentile. In Chapter 7, the style even veers into the narrative, as it draws the scene of a fool slipping into a harlot’s room.

In the intermediate bulk of Proverbs, the reader is treated to a host of more specific attitudes and actions that the wise will follow to their benefit, and the fool will ignore to their regret. The wise man, for example, like the ant, is industrious; the fool, a sluggard. (E.g. 24:30-34; 26:15-16) The fool is a drunkard, the wise man abstemious. (E.g. 23:29-35) The fool loves to talk at length, while the wise man listens and learns. (E.g. 18:2)

But underlying all of the specific advice in Proverbs is the fear of God; it is the root difference between a wise and foolish man. It is like the trunk of the tree, and all of the many specific areas of advice are like limbs and branches, supported by and originating in this first principle.

wedding couple praying

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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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