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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 November 24, 2015

Tenth Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Cover
Thou Shalt Not Covet, charcoal illustration by Leone Bracker ca. 1925. Bracker did an entire series on the Ten Commandments, very much in the style of American illustration in the 1920s and 30s.



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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.


For Joy in God's Creation

O  Heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open my eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that rejoicing in your whole creation, I may learn to serve you with gladness, faithfully managing your bounty; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


For Love

Lord God, I thank you for all the love you have shown me: the love of family, the love of friends and fellow believers, and above all the inestimable love of my Lord Jesus Christ, which showers me and washes away the soil of this world. Like a great waterfall it gushes without ceasing, overwhelming every sin and pain the world can dish out.

Forgive my failures to love you fully in return, Lord. Forgive me for all the times I have disappointed those who love me or have disappointed you by failing those who might not even know who I am, but whom you have given me to love or help. Where I have brought sadness, anger or pain into the world, I pray that you forgive me, even if those who I have hurt will not or cannot.

And lead me henceforth to follow your example in all that I do, showing forth your love and grace in my every word and act. Let me be as constant and steadfast as Christ, even to the point of pain and death, should I ever be called to such sacrifice. Let me wash the feet of the world as you did, Holy Lord, for if there was no humility too great for you in your life, who am I to puff up in pride?

And I pray that you will accept my small and tarnished loving without judgment, but by your grace; and that your Holy Spirit will guide me in my imperfect love, to strengthen it, that you may show through me to the word exactly who you are.



[Life becomes easier when you accept the apology you never got.]


The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.


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


How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it’s irresistible!

~ C.S. Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:17 (Easy-to-Read Version

You must not want to take your neighbor’s house. You must not want his wife. And you must not want his men and women servants or his cattle or his donkeys. You must not want to take anything that belongs to another person.

Notes on the Scripture

When early English versions of the Bible (notably King James) were published, the verb "to covet" meant simply to desire or to want fairly strongly. Because of its use in this passage, it has come to mean "to want something wrongly". Use of the term in the Bible has changed its meaning, ironically, so that the Bible doesn't mean quite what it did when it was translated!


Christ will teach us a complex lesson about serving God versus serving money. But that is another lesson; the tenth commandment does not forbid us from wanting things of this world. The entire message is in phrase, "your neighbor's."

Only the first and last of the ten commandments crawl into our head and seek to regulate thought. The others refer to external acts. We have already been told not to have relations with someone else's wife or take his possessions; here, we are told that we must not allow our minds to go there in the first place.

The injunction is not for our neighbor's benefit; it is for our own benefit. Jealousy is poison. The importance of the person or item coveted is blown utterly out of proportion. We can become fixated on it. We cannot help but hate the person who has what we want so desperately.

More subtle is the resentment of people who have something — money, or power and position, or good looks — that we do not necessarily even admit to ourselves that we covet. We just don't like them being more important than us, getting more attention, making a decision.

Praying the tenth commandment is a great way to come closer to God. As we put aside our resentments of other people, our desire to keep up with the Jones, we naturally become more centered and focused on more important things in our lives. As Christians, of course, we go further than the commandment, for we must examine constantly how much our lives served God, and how much our lives serve mammon.

It this is sometimes a source of confusion for you, you are not alone. Every Christian struggles with the problem. All we can do is pray about it and try to work out a reasonable and good-faith system of dealing with worldly possessions, asking for God's guidance.

Russian monk
Monk, Aleksandr Kisnichyov ca. 2006. (Full size)

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2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV): [Christ] has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

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