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Daily Devotion for January 11, 2022


Sistine Madonna|Raphael
The Sistine Madonna (detail), by Raphael, ca. 1514.

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.

A live performance by Kim Walker-Smith singing with Jesus Culture. “Your Spirit calls my heart to sing.”




An Old American Prayer for the Work Day

Almighty God, I thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done.

Amen.

Prayer of Appreciation

Garden of Eden|Rhenish|Renaissance painting of women at play B+

O  Lord, how lovely it is to be Thy guest. Breeze full of scents; mountains reaching to the skies; waters like boundless mirrors, reflecting the sun’s golden rays and the scudding clouds. All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing the depth of tenderness. Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of Thy love.

Blessed art thou, mother earth, in thy fleeting loveliness, which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last for ever, in the land where, amid beauty that grows not old, the cry rings out: Alleluia!

Amen.

Meditation

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dedication to Service

Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus’ name, I pray,

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.



St. Matthew by Franz Hals, ca. 1660.

The Golden Age on Earth

“[Various Sects] dream that there will be a golden age on earth before the Day of Judgment, and that the pious, having subdued all their godless enemies, will possess all the kingdoms of the earth. [The words of the Bible] present something quite different.”

~ The Second Helvetic Confession, XI


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)

Sermon on the Mount - By Their Fruits You Will Know Them
B

eware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.


Notes on the Scripture

(. . . continued from yesterday.)

Christ tells us that we can tell a false prophet from a true one by his fruits. Yesterday, we examined the idea that one of the fruits of a person’s life is his obedience, in his own life, to God’s Word.

The second kind of “fruit” is the words a teacher or prophet speaks, and for this job, we have a measuring stick right at hand: the Bible. We must read the Bible itself, so that we can tell good fruit from bad. Obedience to the Bible is the fundamental discipline of Christianity. It is our anchor against a thousand false teachings from a thousand false teachers, and even against our own personal bias.

Perhaps the most critical danger comes when a modern-day prophet tells us what we want to hear. “Jesus wants you to be rich.” “Jesus wants you to vote for So-and-so.” In the Middle Ages, “Jesus wants you to pick up your sword and conquer the Holy Land.”

It is hard, when a “Christian” teacher plays into our preconceptions or personal desires, to realize that he is perverting the Gospel. For example, if we hear a sermon that is actually a political speech — just for example, a sermon exhorting us that the U.S. government should send more or less fighter planes to Israel — our initial reaction depends largely on whether we agree with what is said.

If God is Your Copilot, Switch Seats

If we think the government should be giving more support to Israel, and that is what we hear preached, we are tempted to think, “Didn’t he preach well.” If we think the government is spending too much on Israel, and that is what is preached, we will say, “There is wise priest.”

But a minister, who preaches politics of any kind, becomes a politician pretending to be a servant of God: a false prophet. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Christ very pointedly had nothing to do with governments or politics; even Pontius Pilate recognized this. The entire New Testament, from Matthew 1 to Revelation 22, avoids political entanglement. It tells us to bring individuals to Christ, and to lead our own lives by God’s will; it does not tell us to take over governments and coerce the actions of others.

Politics is not the only falsehood preached in churches, by any means. Outright sin is touted as God’s Word. Just consider the so-called “Seven Deadly Sins” — Pride, Anger, Lust, etc. Or the Ten Commandments. You can find every one of them avoided, preached, or even taught as Christian doctrine, somewhere!

So our focus today is not specifically the false god of political power, but the more general teaching: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3)



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Romans12:2: Do not be conformed to this age . . . .



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Comments (4)

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Senior
Paulsays...

The daily devotionals and daily inspirations teach me something every day, as does introduction to new facets of theology, such as today's The Second Helvetic Confessions which is totally new to me. Thank you Mason for all the spiritual enlightenment you provide through this website.

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Regular
John(Alabama, US)says...

We need to make sure to add this after the Lords Prayer, as Jesus did.

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

``But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

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Regular
Michelle(Indiana, US)says...

Amen!! Follow the word. We all, if we are truly commanded by the word if the Lord will know right from wrong..

May God bless us, keep us safe, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting. When hearing the false, then the other cheek and pray..

Amen

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Senior
Paulsays...

I found the passage from the Second Helvetic Confession very interesting (and a little foreboding, but of course even with elementary knowledge of the Bible we should know that is what is expected to come), so much so that it lead me on a search for information about the Helvetic Confession. I was not familiar with this, and am now looking forward to learning more about it. Is it an accepted profession of Christian faith, like the Nicene Creed?

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