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Daily Devotion for September 25, 2015


<i>The Seventh (or Fifth) Plague</i> by Joseph William Turner, ca. 1807.
The Seventh Plague, mezzotint by Joseph William Turner, ca. 1807. Turner uses the very absence of color to emphasize the powerful starkness and desolation of death.

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.




Prayer for This Day

Heavenly Father, let me do my work this day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times. May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself. Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

Amen.

Prayer to Treat Others Well

Father, thank you for bringing me into your family. May I never disappoint you in the way I treat others. Teach me to show love, patience, and acceptance to all who come to me; let me show peace of soul and firm conviction that your will governs all. And I pray that others may see in me the qualities of character that can only be attributed to your presence in my life. Make my life a window for your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect your love to all I meet. To you be the glory and the honor, forever and ever, through Jesus my Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

[How can I find comfort in moments of despair?]


Benediction

May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.

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.

Proverbs 1:29-31

Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,

therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 10:12-20 (ESV)

The Eighth Plague: Locusts [2]

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night.

When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again. They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the Lord your God only to remove this death from me.”

So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the Lord. And the Lord turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go.



Notes on the Scripture

Pharaoh is psychologically trapped. He is not stupid and knows what is happening, and knows what is going to happen. He asks Moses, not to make the locusts leave, but rather, "to remove this death from me." He also makes the remarkable statement that he has sinned against the "Lord your God" and asks to be forgiven "just this once." But when the threat is removed, he goes right back to his old ways.

The Courage to Change

Sound familiar? In our own lives and the lives of others, how often do people continue on a destructive course, even when the proof becomes irrefutable that it is leading them to failure (or even death)? A combination of fear and pride can put us in a rut that we cannot bring ourselves to climb out of, even if it is otherwise not so terribly difficult.

We pray sometimes for the "courage to change," and indeed, the Holy Spirit will come to us and lift us just high enough to overcome a destructive course or habit before it is too late. Has not God promised us "He will not let [us] be tempted beyond what [we] can bear. But when [we] are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that [we] can stand up under it"? (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God seems to love us, much of the time, more than we love ourselves. Fatalism is foreign to Christianity. So many people misunderstand Christ and become mired in guilt, or turn away for fear of guilt; but Christ's forgiveness is the end of guilt. Once we fully grasp God's love, we realize that we are empowered to love ourselves. We can enjoy our life fully, relish being alive, for we reject the inevitability of death.

The great secret lies in Christ's teaching, that we must be born again. We must grab onto the notion of total and radical change, so powerful that it will pop us right out of that deep rut we have gotten into.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Custody Battle”

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<i>The Plague of Hail</i>, woodcut from the Phillip Medhurst Bible Collection, date unknown.
The Plague of Hail, woodcut from the Phillip Medhurst Bible Collection, date unknown.




Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Psalm 73:26 (ESV): My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.



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