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Daily Devotion for November 24, 2017

<i>Hezekiah Burns the Idols</i>, inked woodcut from the Henry VIII Bible, ca. 1539.
Hezekiah Burns the Idols, inked woodcut from the Henry VIII Bible, ca. 1539.



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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.


Prayer for the Day Ahead (from an old Prayer Book)

Almighty God, my heavenly Father, who declares your glory and shows forth your creation in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in whatever work my hand may find today, from the service of mammon; and assist me, that I may do the work which you have given me to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us, humbling himself to serve all who came to him and received him, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Glory to God for the Minds of Men

The breath of Your Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Your supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Your laws, who reveal the depths of Your creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of You. How great You are in Your creation! How great You are in man!

Glory to You, showing Your unsurpassable power in the laws of the universe
Glory to You, for all nature is filled with Your laws
Glory to You for what You have revealed to us in Your mercy
Glory to You for what You have hidden from us in Your wisdom
Glory to You for the inventiveness of the human mind
Glory to You for the dignity of man’s labour
Glory to You for the tongues of fire that bring inspiration
Glory to You, O God, from age to age,

For Those Praying with Me

Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don't know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.


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

Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.

~ Margaret Stunt

Blue Latin Cross

1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (JBP)


The lesson we must learn, my brothers, is at all costs to avoid worshipping a false god. I am speaking to you as intelligent men: think over what I am saying.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a very sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread do we not actually share in the body of Christ? The very fact that we all share one bread makes us all one body. Look at the Jews of our own day. Isn’t there a fellowship between all those who eat the altar sacrifices?

Now am I implying that a false god really exists, or that sacrifices made to any god have some value? No, I am not. I say emphatically that Gentile sacrifices are made to evil powers and not to God at all. I don’t want you to have any fellowship with such powers. You cannot drink both the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils. You cannot be a guest at the Lord’s table and at the table of devils. Are we trying to arouse the wrath of God? Have we forgotten how completely we are in his hands?

Notes on the Scripture

he Bible does not really treat the concept of atheism, the simple absence of belief in a god or gods. The theological disctinctions are primarily between believers in God and idolators (with Jews who will not accept Christ added in the New Testament).

In the first several centuries A.D., literal idolatry was still the prevalent religious practice. In the Roman Empire, where most of early Christianity took root, the gods were literal idols, whether marble statues in magnificent temples or little mud figurines in humble huts.

Paul must thus treat with idolatry; earlier, he gave advice on eating food that had been sacrificed to a god or goddess in a pagan ritual. Here, he deals with a frequent difficulty faced by missionaries over the ages: People who worship a false god or gods will simply add Christ as a main god in their pantheon.

Idolatry is a primary sin, the root of evil; the First Commandment comes first because it is the most important. Paul here tells us that we much avoid idolatry “at all costs.” When we ascribe unnatural meaning or power to a person or inanimate object, it gets in the way of our love for God and obfuscates the only path to true salvation.

Atheists, who swear they believe in nothing but “reality,” are actually practitioners of the lesser form of idolatry. Without exception, they are trying to find meaning and salvation in a person, object, or even an intangible; and also without exception, the object of their worship fails them.

It takes many forms. People sometimes look for meaning, for salvation, in erotic love; others seeks meaning in the glorification of themselves, by being driven to some great achievement such as enormous wealth, leadership of a nation, or athletic prowess. Perhaps they worship science: physicists periodically decare that they now understand the universe, only to discover something soon after that invalidates their “understanding.” Always, there are masses who seek salvation in some political scheme or another. Communists thought to worship the proletariat. (And, if we are unfortunate enough that such political zealots gain power, millions of people inevitably die as a result.)

The Bible does not mention atheism because it is actually a rare and temporary state. Very discouraged or depressed people may simply stop living, and become actual atheists for a period. But nearly all self-described “atheists,” who will tell you that they do not believe in any god, are idolaters, not actual atheists, for they hold in their heart the hope of salvation through something or someone who will, eventually, fail them.

Lenin the god
Vladimir Lenin, the first god of the “atheist” USSR, which murdered people by the tens of millions.

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Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

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