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Daily Devotion for September 27, 2010


Joshua altar uncut stone
A very early Hebrew altar uncovered on the West Bank, believed (by some) to be the altar built by Joshua
at Moses’ direction.

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.

The beautiful voice in this video belongs to Sharon Hopkins, an esteemed music and voice teacher.




Prayer to be Ready

Keep me, O Lord, while I tarry on this earth, seeking after you each day, in a loving and faithful walk with you; that when you come, I may be found not hiding my talent, nor serving my flesh, nor with my lamp empty or hidden; But waiting ready for my Lord, longing for you, my glorious God forever and ever.

Amen.

To Treat Others with Love and Understanding

Heavenly Lord, you have commanded us to love one another, but sometimes even when I am pleasant to another person it is not sincere. Help me, I pray, to be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let my love and concern for others not be a sham. When I work for you, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I might be committed and enthusiastic in your service. Let me live in your presence, and not get so wrapped up in my life that I forget about you.

And may I be patient when difficulties arise and not give way to frustration and anger, knowing always that the result belongs to you. Let me not take offense at others, let me not be thin-skinned; but shielded by the power of your Spirit, let me not hear insult where none is intended, and shrug off even the most intentional. In Christ’s name, I pray this.

Amen.

Dedication

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.

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.


Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

Which Bible verse tells us, “mind your own affairs”?

Answer: 1 Thessalonians 4:11



Illuminated Bible, Gospel
Evangelarium from the Lindisfarne Gospels, created around 700 A.D. at the island monastery of Lindesfarne, off the northeast coast of England.

Revenge

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

~ Margaret Stunt


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:22-26 (ESV)

How to Worship
A

nd the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen.

In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.

If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’”


Notes on the Scripture

The repetition or elaboration on the second commandment seems to clarify it some. There was a huge historical debate about depicting people, saints, God, and even the cross in churches; wars were fought and people killed over this question. Catholic and Orthodox worshippers, at one extreme, worship in front of paintings and statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and various saints.

Amish Church
An Amish church.

At the opposite extreme, very “protestant” Protestants, such as Anabaptists and Puritans, refuse to have any physical representation of a person or God in church. No stained glass windows, and often not even a cross on the wall; their worship is to the invisible God.

One cannot fault a congregation which doesn’t have any paintings or statues; there is surely nothing in the Bible that says “put a cross on an altar and depict Christ’s life in stained glass windows.” On the other hand, the meaning of the second commandment, taken along with today’s verses (and other verses), seem to show that such depictions fall outside the intended prohibition of “graven images.”

The ancient Jews (and Orthodox Jews today) would have sided with the Puritans on this; they were and remain very strict about not having paintings or statues of any person in their temples and synagogues. But the primary prohibition intended by the stricture is to prevent syncretism (adding other gods) and polytheism (worship of multiple gods). An idol worshipper believes that the idol itself magical, that is contains a special spiritual pathway to the god being worshipped.

But the main point is to suppress worship of unrelated heathen gods, figments of mythological imagination separate from Yahweh Himself.

The first form of worship defined by God is also interesting. He wants an altar of stones piled in the desert which have not even been cut into rectangles, so that it will not be profaned by the tools used to cut it; and, He demands that it sit at ground level so that the people — possibly sitting, kneeling, or prostrate — won't be able to see up the priests' garments!

This passage is interesting in its insistence on extreme primitivism in worship. Few Christians worship like this today! In the coming verses and books, God will require the building of a fairly nice temple (with minutely detailed specifications), so even the most Orthodox Jews do not pile rocks in a field and kill sheep and goats to burn upon it.

We do continue, however, to sacrifice in our worship services. The communion service, which is followed in some fashion by almost every Christian sect, recreates the sacrifice of flesh and blood made by Christ. So, as strange as the rituals of the Pentateuch may sound to us today, we retain a direct connection to them in modern worship.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Treasure in the Bank”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Proverbs 30:5-6: Every word of God is flawless. Do not add to his words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.



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