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Daily Devotion for August 4, 2022



The Searchlight, by Evelyn de Morgan, ca. 1915.
De Morgan was a Pre-Raphaelite, which we see in the colors and style; and like most of them, she was also a “symbolist”. You can let your imagination loose in deciding what is being depicted, although it is hard to miss God’s Word beaming forth from the angel, like a searchlight, to find and destroy Satan.

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.

One of the world’s great gospel choirs singing a (mostly) English hymn. Bayete is Zulu for “all hail.”




Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today

Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, made out of your love for us, that all who follow you might find salvation and eternal life.

Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,

Amen.

Prayer for Unknown Needs

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

Meditation

Christ said, “I am the Truth”; He did not say “I am the Custom.”


Benediction

Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,

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.



Contemporary Cross
Cross by Helena Magnusson Ogburn, contemporary.

Behavior

This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.

~ C. S. Lewis (The Case for Christianity)


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 23:27-32 (ESV)

Hypocrites: Whitewashed Tombs
W

oe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?


Notes on the Scripture

Christ uses the wonderful metaphor of a “whitewashed tomb” to describe the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. It applies with full force today, for hypocrisy is still with us: Outwardly religious people, following the appearance of religious piety, but insincere and corrupt in their heart.

Anti-Christian factions will call all Christians “hypocrites”, because none of us live up to the standards we preach and teach. All of us sometimes get angry, react with pride instead of humility, fail to love our neighbor as ourself, etc. But to call this “hypocrisy” is erroneous. Hypocrisy does not consist of espousing a standard that one hasn't met, but rather, pretending to have met that standard when one has fallen short.

The key to avoiding hypocrisy is humility. If we are truly humble and do not try to pretend we are perfect or superior, then we admit we have fallen short. Sincerity cannot be hypocritical. We must always remember that salvation is a gift we have been given, not an achievement we have accomplished.

There is an enormous difference, however, when we consider people who would teach others to deny God; we cannot judge others, for judgment is reserved to Christ. But we may certainly oppose false teachings. And a “whitewashed tomb full of rotting bodies” is a great metaphor for the increasingly prevalent atheist world-view of secular society. (Why hasn't somebody written a book about Hollywood called The Whitewashed Tomb?)

Hypocrisy

Paul, in Titus 1:10-16, advises Titus on dealing with men who were “teaching things they should not teach.” His advice? “[R]eprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to . . . commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” We must approach this with caution; for humility, self-control and harmony are express virtues in Christian intercourse. And we must also remember, Titus was a learned elder under the watchful eye of the Apostle Paul himself, and the persons to be reproved were teaching in the name of Christ, not atheist or polytheistic outsiders.

How far we might go when interjecting ourselves into debates over immorality in the secular world is a difficult issue. We cannot be cowards in spreading the Gospel. But as a whole, the New Testament seems to treat the church as a separate world. Christ was vitriolic in His denunciation of false religious teachers, but silent concerning the terrible immorality of the Romans.





endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“A Time to Listen, a Time to Talk”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 6:25: Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.



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Comments (4)

Gravatar
Regular
Donsays...

"Christ was vitriolic in His denunciation of false religious teachers, but silent concerning the terrible immorality of the Romans."

This is an interesting, and important, statement to consider in light of our present morally corrupt culture. WWJD?

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Senior
Wmsays...

Great clarification on “hypocrite!” The world is ready to pounce on any Christian who makes a mistake so they can feel better about their own, sinful lives. I told someone recently: Look to God, not to man.

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New
Randy(Corinth, Mississippi, US)says...

Mason your comments below are really well said and helpful to me in apply the scripture. thanks!

Hypocrisy does not consist of espousing a standard that one hasn't met, but rather, pretending to have met that standard when one has fallen short.

The key to avoiding hypocrisy is humility. If we are truly humble and do not try to pretend we are perfect or superior, then we admit we have fallen short. Sincerity cannot be hypocritical. We must always remember that salvation is a gift we have been given, not an achievement we have accomplished.

Gravatar
New
Dellasays...

Today's message was exactly what I needed to hear. The definition of hypocrisy, in particular, was just what I needed in order to talk to my atheist friends. Thank you as always and everyday.

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