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Daily Devotion for January 13, 2022


Bible, Matthew 7:25, house built on rock or stone
Painting by Pieter Mieler II, ca. 1680.

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.

I am surprised that this wonderful comforting hymn is not better known. Enjoy some “comfort food!”




To Keep God in Mind This Day

Lord, let me begin this day in devout meditations, in joy unspeakable, and in blessing and praising You, who has given me such good hope and everlasting consolation.

Lift up my mind above all these little things below, which are apt to distract my thoughts; and keep it above, until my heart is fully resolved to seek You every day, in the path where Jesus has trod before me.

Amen.

Ancient Prayer for Those Who Govern

Lord God, I pray for all kings and others in authority. You, Master, have given them the power of sovereignty through your majestic and inexpressible might, so that we, acknowledging the glory and honor which you have given them, may be subject to them, resisting your will in nothing. Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, and stability, that they may blamelessly administer the government which you have given them.

Christ the King

For you, heavenly Master, King of the ages, give to the sons of men glory and honor and authority over those upon the earth. Lord, direct their plans according to what is good and pleasing in your sight, so that by devoutly administering in peace and gentleness the authority which you have given them they may experience your mercy. You, who alone are able to do these and even greater good things for us, we praise through the high priest and guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the majesty to you both now and for all generations and for ever and ever.

Amen.

Meditation

“God has two dwellings – one in heaven and the other in a thankful heart.”

~ Izaar Walton

Benediction

Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

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.



A charming Madonna and Child, ca. 1440, by Luca della Robbia
A charming Madonna and Child, ca. 1440, by Luca della Robbia, a pioneer in glazed terracotta figures.

The Skeleton at the Feast

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past ... to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

~ Frederick Buechner, from Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC.


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 7:21-27 (ESV)

Sermon on the Mount - I Never Knew You
N

ot everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.


Notes on the Scripture

“The Lord Jesus winds up The Sermon on The Mount by a passage of heart-piercing application. He turns from false prophets to false professors, from unsound teachers to unsound hearers.” (J. C. Ryle, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (1890)) It is not only false prophets who can mislead us; we can deceive our own selves into believing we’re Christians when the fact is, we’re not.

The passage addresses many people who might call themselves Christians; we can be baptized, we can go to church, we can pray: yet, Christ quite frighteningly tells us that he “does not know” some such people. Even though they both profess godliness and perform acts of faith, they will not enter heaven. Only those who do the will of the Father will share in Christ’s salvation.

Bible in light

Modern theology comes down firmly on the side of “justification by faith,” as opposed to “justification by works.” All we need for salvation, theologians tell us, is faith in Christ. We are saved by what we believe, not what we do. And there is much in the Bible to support this view.

But theology (as the term is generally used) is the product of the human mind. Very smart, educated, and pious minds; but nevertheless, the fallible minds of human beings.

The Bible transcends theology. As Paul put it, “‘The intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate’. . . . Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

The passage is a bit hard to understand: What on earth is Paul talking about? Just this: the Bible, and especially the teachings of Christ, cannot be reduced to miracles, on the one hand, or logical principles, on the other. We have to attach ourselves to the straight, bare, raw text of His life and teachings, not to theological principles or church doctrine.

In short, we cannot understand God; we can only do what He tells us to do.

Christ declares in today’s Scripture that anyone who “hears these words of mine and does not do them” will be lost, which sounds very much like salvation based on our actions. And yet, Christ came into the world to save sinners; He will by His sacrifice and mercy grant forgiveness to those who believe in Him.

Logic cannot reconcile the mystery of salvation. We can make a rather tortured logical composite, such as “those who have faith will always do good works out of love for God,” or “the act of becoming sincerely faithful is the action Christ requires,” but feeling that we need to formulate a logical framework is, as Paul puts it, the foolishness of the Greeks.

We cannot become complacent simply because we think we have “faith”. To be saved, we must at least try to do what God commands. We must fight to give our lives over to Christ completely.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“He Must Increase,
but I Must Decrease”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

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



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Comments (2)

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Regular
Michelle(Indiana, US)says...

Today's scripture makes one think! Our faith, like life sometimes is we have a routine. We get up and pray as we get up and get dressed.. We go to church like we go to workand follow a routine but truly one must follow gods wishes, not just follow a faithful routine..

Thank you for opening my eyes in scripture today..

Your teachings are amazing and eye opening..

May God bless you...

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Senior
Claudette(Bucasia, Queensland, Australia)says...

LOVED the music. LOVED the terra-cotta figures, and most of all, I was enthralled with today's Notes on the Scripture! Thank you Mason, for your deeply important and wonderful comment : "We have to attach ourselves to the straight, bare, raw text of His life and teachings, not to theological principles or church doctrine".

You ALWAYS enlighten and expand my soul with your teachings.

May you always walk in Christ's light!

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