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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 December 2, 2017

<i>Christ in the House of Martha and Mary</i>, Henryk Siemiradzki, ca. 1886.
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, Henryk Siemiradzki, ca. 1886.



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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.


Back in 1983, the Georgia Mass Choir was founded in Macon, Georgia. They specialized in pepping up sedate old hymns. You’ve never heard By and By quite like this!

Come to Our Aid

In the morning Abraham called upon you on the mountain top and you answered him, O lover of men; and in the morning I call upon you, come to my aid and the aid of all your servants, O God, full of mercy, hallelujah, and have mercy upon us.


To Help Others with Their Faith

Lord, I am so full of doubt and sin that I sometimes forget: There is always someone weaker in their faith than I am, some brother or sister whom I can help, someone I can support and lift up in their journey. I pray that I might be aware that my fellow saints may need encouragement and that I be qualified to give it. Let me not be critical or judgmental, but supportive and helpful to those struggling.

And I pray, let me always remember that someone might be hiding a struggle, a fear, a sorrow; let me offer words of encouragement and support freely. Let me remember that there are people who hide their insecurity behind a wall of serenity, or defensiveness, or even antagonism, to whom a word of support might make a world of difference.

In Christ's name, I pray,



Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.


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.

Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

In which verse does Jesus tell us that He is the only means of salvation for humanity?

Answer: John 14:6
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

The Holy Spirit as a dove, devotional painting

Psalm 96:1-6 (NKJV)

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Corinthians 11:13-16 (ESV)

On what do we base our appearance?

Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

Notes on the Scripture

Paul says “judge for yourselves,” but is that what he really means? That is, does he really intend to say, “It’s up to your own judgment”?


ddly, that seems to be what he does mean, at least to some degree. He appeals to nature and social custom, not spiritual revelation, and he leaves the door cracked open for disagreement. His argument about hair, and the covering of heads during worship, should be taken seriously, but he does not mean to be writing an eleventh commandment, or even replacing the rigid laws of Moses with a new set.

The key to his purpose in writing Chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians can be gleaned from the puzzling last sentence. He wants Christian churches everywhere to adopt common practices, resembling those of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus (where he was staying at the time), and other well-established Christian churches. It was the general contentiousness of the Corinthian church that led him to write this Epistle. The church was splintered into argumentative factions and was unable to focus on its mission and purpose.

In fact, in specific instances, men would stop cutting their hair as part of a religious discipline, such as taking Nazarite vows; and Paul supported the practice (Acts 21:17-26) and almost certainly took a Nazarite vow himself at one point. (Acts 18:18-19) John the Baptist likely did not cut his hair, although this is never made explicit, for he led his later life entirely as a Nazarite.

Think, too, of the practice of many nuns, who crop their hair close and always cover their heads. It would be hard to fault them. But in both cases, these are people who explicitly separate themselves from society in order to grow closer to God.

What Paul apparently seeks is a standard to prevent contention, dictated in part by nature (which comes, after all, from God). Women, who generally want fairly long hair anyway, are allowed the natural adornment of long and beautiful hair, but should cover it at worship as a sign of modesty. Men are not allowed this feminine vanity; their hair might get a bit long and shaggy, but to pay the kind of attention to their hair that a woman does is an unnatural imitation of femininity.

There is some irony here, for the common depiction of Jesus, where he is coiffed like a cavalier fop in the court of Charles I, is a breathtaking impossibility.

At any rate, the lesson to be learned here is the importance of agreeing upon, and following, a norm for worship and appearance that shows one’s dedication to God rather than seeking after individual self-fulfillment. In a word, acceptance. And who would not recognize that a woman, entering church with some sort of veil pinned to her head, was wearing it as a sign of piety and devotion rather than an attempt to beautify herself?

In others words, when it comes to personal appearance, Paul focuses less on what one does, and much more on why one does it. As in everything, we must seek to glorify God, and not our own pride, in how we present ourselves.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“The Ways of Anger”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.

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