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Daily Devotion for October 12, 2021


<i>Head of Christ</i> by Rembrandt, ca. 1648.
Head of Christ, by Rembrandt, ca. 1648.

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.

Do you have unanswered prayers? So does J.J. Heller.




Thanks and Praise

I  thank You for the temporal blessings of this world — the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers’ sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, and friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over.

Little Christian girl worshipping cross in the sky

Do not allow me to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings; Your power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of our Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell’s artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!

Amen.

To Live in Sympathy with Others

Blessed Lord Jesus, who wept with Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died, may I ever take your love and sympathy for humanity into my heart. As Paul prayed in Romans, “May I rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Soften my heart towards all, heavenly Lord, my enemies and my friends, my family and those who offend me. May I see the humanity of all my fellow men, rather than their sinfulness, and replace the fist of criticism with the opens arms of Christian love. By your grace, Lord Christ, I dare to ask your help in overcoming my hard heart,

Amen.

Meditation

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

~ Max Lucado


Doxology

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!

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

Finding God

We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.

~ Francis Chan


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 5:20-26 (ESV)

Sermon on the Mount - Obtaining Righteousness

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”



Notes on the Scripture

W

e have included the last sentence from yesterday’s Scripture, because Jesus’ speech about fulfillment of the law introduces a long section of topical lessons on specific types of sin. He has promised that the righteousness of the listeners would have to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees — in short, that the extensive Mosaic law does not go far enough.

The Greeks invented a term, dramatic irony, which means, basically, that a person watching a drama knows something that the characters on the stage do not. It is the staple of horror movies; someone walks carefully down a hall to open a door. The audience knows that there is a zombie on the other side and screams “Don’t open it!” But the character does not know.

Or, if you have ever read Romeo and Juliet, Juliet takes a potion that makes her appear dead; but she isn’t really dead and will awaken in an hour. The audience knows this, but Romeo does not: dramatic irony. And as the audience watches in horror, Romeo takes his own life, believing Juliet to be dead and not wanting to live without her.

Dramatic irony in Matthew 5:20 impedes our appreciation of it. We know that Christ will die in satisfaction for our sin, i.e., our inability to comply with the laws of God. So when we read “your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees”, or “whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments . . . will be called least in the kingdom of heaven”, it does not affect us strongly.

We realize something that the Hebrews listening to Jesus did not: their inability to comply with this impossible standard will be forgiven.

But we profit more from reading the passage without dramatic irony. Forget, for a minute, everything you know about Christ. Pretend you are a Jew, seeking God in good faith, keeping the law. And with this state of mind, read Matthew 5:17-20; once you have that down solid, read some of the rest of Matthew 5.

The capper is the last sentence in the chapter: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Christ’s words are profoundly frightening. Who can live without becoming angry? Am I going to have to put out my eye and cut off my hand? He is, essentially, telling the audience that they are going to burn in hell for eternity.

Jesus meant for us to know this fear; He meant for us to feel this fear; He meant for us to appreciate that, unless we are reborn in the Spirit, our suffering is going to get even worse when we die. Fear of God, says Proverbs 1, is the beginning of wisdom. We cannot fully appreciate Christ, and what He did for us, unless we know our terrible destiny without Him.



Text: Devotional of the Holy Spirit Descending, by Murillo, 1680Murillo devotional painting Descent of the Holy Spirit

Daily Inspiration

“Amy Carmichael”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.



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Comments (6)

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mereanisays...

Thanks this is my first time.Pray that god will guide me through his word.

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Roxannesays...

Thank you for this daily platform. It's my start of everyday. Really, thank you.

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Carlsays...

I love Jesus

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Paulsays...

Mason, thank you for the wonderful information about Amy Carmichael - I had never heard of her before. After reading your Daily Inspiration, I searched for books about her, and found a treasure trove that I will be able to choose from. I can't wait to read more about her life and service to God that, from your description, appears to have been a precursor to that of Mother Teresa.

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Thomassays...

AMEN to that!!! 185 people worshiping along with me. More than my brick and mortar church. I pray that all of you have a Blessed Day, and for those going somewhere, Travel Mercies. Amen

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Tom(Concord, North Carolina, US)says...

Hi, Thomas

I'm writing at 8:00 and there's 550 of us. Mason has a fairly good sized flock. He's a blessing to many. I recommend him to everybody I get a chance to. I've been coming here for probably 10 years...I have learned SO much.

Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Oct 12, 2021 were:
Sylvia Banda (12)
LANA OAKLEY (12)
randall martin (12)
Keith Langley (11)
HM Latchmenarine (11)

Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Keith Langley (9 out of 9)
Sylvia Banda (9 out of 9)
Allison King (9 out of 9)
Norman Daniels (9 out of 9)
Kathryn Halfman (9 out of 9)
randall martin (9 out of 9)

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