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Daily Devotion for September 24, 2010


<i>Jesus in the Green Grass</i> by French Symbolist painter Maurice Denis, ca. 1900.
Jesus in the Green Grass, by Maurice Denis, ca. 1900.

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’s Sunday anthem, from the Northern Lights Chorale, urges us to action.




For Sunday Morning

Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.

+ Angel praying at Jesus tomb Left

Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.

And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,

Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself; and I sorrow for these wrongful acts and omissions from the bottom of my heart. I humbly and fully repent all of my misdeeds, and pray that for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, you will have mercy on me and forgive me, not by my merits, but by that grace that He has granted those who confess his name. And I pray that you will be in my heart and walk with me, that I might sin no more.

Amen.

To Live in Union with Christ

Loving God, I am just beginning to realize how much you love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. I ask you for the desire to become more humble so that my own life might also bear witness to you. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give you glory.

Please, Lord, guide my mind with your truth. Strengthen my life by the example of Jesus. Help me to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for me. He died so that I would no longer be separated from you. Help me to feel how close you are and to live in union with you.

Amen.

Benediction

Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.

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.



endless knot

Psalm 8:1-2 (NKJV)

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.


Blue Latin Cross

Ecclesiastes 8:6-11 (ESV)

Crime and Punishment
F


or there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the hearts of men are set to do evil.


Notes on the Scripture

This poetic and philosophical passage from Ecclesiastes, the great book of wisdom, treats two similar themes. The first describes the misery that people suffer from not knowing when they will suffer or when they will die. Nobody knows what will befall him, or when. We go to the doctor and find out that we have a disease we didn’t ever expect; a man or woman is walking and is attacked by a criminal. These things happen unexpectedly. And you can’t opt out. There is no “honorable discharge” from the vicissitudes of life.

The punishments, the rewards, all that we believe to be the outcome of our activities is “vanity”, a major theme of Ecclesiastes. People slip into evil, because their punishment is slow to come; and so they live for a short while, under the illusion that they have gotten something good by doing something bad. Even when we do good works, the feeling of satisfaction we get is vanity — personal satisfaction that will soon be gone, forgotten by others, in a year, or a decade, or a hundred thousand years.

Like the punishment for crime that is so often slow to come, God’s day of judgment is unpredictable. And so we fool ourselves into believing that there will be no consequences. But the day of judgment will come, when our faith and steadfastness will bring us the ultimate reward, and the evil we have committed will be judged.

Painting of Christ with sinner in His arms

The implicit message is that we must do good works out of love for God, and to His glory, rather than for the temporary pride of doing good; and we must not think our evil acts are forgotten, if no punishment follows them. The earthly result of our actions is vanity, fleeting in time.

The money we stole, our pride at forcing someone to do something, a street named after a venal politician: these will become dust. Likewise, the temple we erected to the glory of God or the hungry man we fed, are acts that disappear from the earth. But as Christ tells us later, we lay up treasure in heaven, where deeds done for the glory of God are remembered forever. We will come before Christ at the time of His choosing, and He will judge us for our actions and, hopefully, forgive us for our sins by His grace.



Illuminated Chi Rho Bible
Chi Rho (XP, the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek) from the Lindisfarne Gospels, illuminated in a monastery off the coast of Scotland around 700 A.D.

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:39, 44: I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. . . . [L]ove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.



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