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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 March 8, 2015


Ferdinana Georg Waldmuller, Am Fronleichnamsmorgen, <i>Corpus Christi Morning</i>, ca. 1857
Corpus Christi Morning, Georg Waldmuller ca. 1857. This happy slice of life, showing a Sunday morning in 19th century Austria, makes the fourth commandment seem less a burden than an opportunity.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.

Today for our Virtual Sunday Church, we join the Apostolic Tabernacle Mass Choir for one of my favorite videos ever. I like to turn my sound way up and let the opening line hit me like a hurricane!




Sunday Morning Invocation

God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill my spirit, and the spirit of all the people of your universal church, with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned, and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Lenten Prayer

Turn me, O good Lord, and so shall I be turned. Be favorable, O Lord, be favorable to your people, who turn to you in weeping, fasting, and praying. For you are a merciful God, full of compassion, long-suffering, and of great pity. You spare us when we deserve punishment, and even in your wrath think upon mercy. Spare your people, good Lord, spare them, and do not let your heritage be brought to confusion. Hear me, O Lord, for your mercy is great, and after the multitude of your mercies look upon me and all your people; Through the merits and mediation of your blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.

Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love.

Grant me the Spirit of Fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward You;

the Spirit of Piety that I may find peace and fulfillment in serving You, while serving others;

the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation;

the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself, and thus grow in holiness;

the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your truth;

the Spirit of Counsel that I may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may aspire to the things that last forever;

Teach me to be Your faithful disciple. Animate me with Your Spirit in every aspect of my life, today and throughout the week to come.

Amen.

Doxology (Traditional Anglican)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

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.



Marc Chagall, An Angel Painter, 1927
An Angel Painter by Marc Chagall, ca. 1927.

Exodus 20:8-10 (AKJV)

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates . . . .


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 16:22-30 (ESV)

Bread from Heaven [3]

On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers [two omers = one gallon] each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’”

So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”

On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”

So the people rested on the seventh day.


Notes on the Scripture

F

or those who have not actually read Exodus before, the lengthy section on gathering of manna and the early imposition of Sabbath laws comes as a surprise. The Hebrews immediately discover that the manna goes bad after one day. Although God has promised to send it daily, they still try to rely on their own skills; they gather extra to store up just in case, one supposes, God changes His mind. They do not trust Him fully.

Then, having established firmly to the Hebrews that manna is a gift from Him, God advances their training to the next level. Having learned to gather one day's food each day, now they must learn that they must gather two day's provision on Friday and that the manna will keep for a day, for God intends that the Sabbath be kept as a holy day.

One would think that they would be happy for a day of rest. Life is grueling in the desert. One would anticipate nothing nicer than a chance to lie around the tent all day, worshipping, talking, singing — anything but working. But no; some of them have to go out and try to gather manna. So, they get another lesson: there is none.

"The Lord said to Moses, 'How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?'" This rhetorical question actually has an answer; for neither the Jews, as a people, nor Christians, as a church, would ever keep God's laws as an entirety. Those who really tried — such as the Catholic Church, the Puritans, the Pharisees — have inevitably broken down into politics, ungodly superstition and physical coercion.

But the greatest difficulty has always been sheer disobedience, the triumph of self-will and earthly appetite over life in the Spirit.

Christ showed us that if there is work that must be done on the Sabbath, one may do it without offending God. But His examples were work that could not wait a day: pulling an ox out of a ditch, healing a sick man. He did not, by His own assertion, come to abolish the Law, and His infringement on the Pharisees' rules for the Sabbath was not an open invitation to ignore the fourth commandment.

God loves us and would not have given us the Sabbath law if it were not beneficial to us. Yet, very few Christians or Jews keep the Sabbath (or technically, in the case of most Christians, the Sunday "Sabbath", which almost all scholars agree fulfills the fourth commandment). It is an issue worth considering and, perhaps, modifying our lives a bit. If we believe in God, then we must trust that following the commandment will ultimately have beneficial consequences.

We touched on this recently and the response was a bit surprising. This is one of the Ten Commandments! Yet most of us, and probably all of us, have allowed Satan into our lives by one of his favorite means: conformance with secular society. If the grocery store is open on Sunday, it must be okay to go grocery shopping on Sunday. Our relationship with God is thus mediated by atheists. We follow them, rather than the Bible.

Remember what Satan said to Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say that?” “Surely you can eat a piece of fruit.”(Genesis 3:1-6) This is Satan's favorite trick. Satan plays the same trick on us, and it still works. He leads us to sin by little compromises and rationalizations. And this is how he, the master of evil, draws us away from God by slowly chipping away at the meaning of God's commandments.

To repeat one last time, since so many of us (including myself) have trouble hearing it, this is one of the ten commandments: “[T]he seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.”







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John 6:63: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.



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