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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.


Daily Devotion for February 22, 2024


<i>Heads of Christ and St John</i>, by Sebastiano Ricci, 1725-30.
Heads of Christ and St John, by Sebastiano Ricci, 1725-30.

Prayers

Scripture

271 people in our community are currently praying with you.

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 Canton Quartet reminds us — with enthusiasm! — that we’ll soon be done with troubles and trials.




Prayer for the Morning

Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.

Amen.

Prayer for Failure in Doing God’s Will

Heavenly Father, I want to pray for myself and everyone else who has tried to do something, large or small, out of love for You, and have failed. Failed big, like people who try to start a church or charity and it fails financially and closes, wasting huge amounts of money dedicated to Your service. Or something small but upsetting, like I bend to help someone on the ground and they curse and say, “Get your hands off of me!”

Or even the little failures of everyday life. When I start to pray to you and my mind drifts, and suddenly I am thinking how angry I am at someone, or how nice I look in my new shirt. If I get dressed for church but lose track of time, and I’m ten minutes late again.

fellowship in Christ

Dear God, I pray for myself and for everyone who is carrying a burden of guilt or pain for such a failure. Let us know 100% that when we fail, trying to do something out of love for You or our fellow man, that You are with us and love us with a huge powerful love that only You can give. Let us feel joy in Your love and in our salvation.

You never said, “Blessed are the successful.” You said, “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit,” and “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” For we are not going to find real success in this life, are we, Lord? So I pray, let us know joy and fulfillment instead of depression and guilt when we fail in Your name. For you have not commanded us to succeed; you have commanded us to love.

In Christ’s name I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”

~ Washington Irving

Prayer of Penitence

Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in my contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all my sins, and cleansing me from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. And turn my heart to your will at every moment, 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.



endless knot

Proverbs 3:7-8 (NKJV)

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.


Blue Latin Cross

John 7:17-24 (ESV)

The Authority of God

If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”

The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”

Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”


Notes on the Scripture

Once again, we have Jesus talking at cross-purposes with the crowd. This often makes for difficulty in following the events of John. In this case, Jesus is actually addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees, as well as less clearly demarked special-interest groups like the “Herodians” (whose alliance was to Herod rather than a particular religious sect).

Thence the confusion in the passage. There are many levels to Jesus’ argument. At the most basic level, he is addressing a crowd of people who simply can’t understand what he’s talking about. So when he asks “why are you seeking to kill me” the response is, in modern terminology, “are you nuts? Nobody’s trying to kill you.”

Jesus teaching

But of course, there are people who are trying to kill him; but they are not in the crowd. If they were, they would have him arrested, and he has already said that the time for that has not arrived. So he gives the absent religious/political establishment arguments showing that their plot against him is evil and unlawful. (The reference to healing on the Sabbath refers back to an event in John 5, an event some of the crowd may not even know about.) Christ will prove His innocence by showing that He, and not the Jewish power establishment, correctly follows the Law of Moses.

At another level, Jesus intends that His words be remembered; for the crowd will learn that there are in fact those who will seek to kill Him, and succeed.

And at the highest level, Christ delivers an eternal teaching for all of us: those whose aim is to do God’s will are going to accept Jesus. Once we understand this, the sometimes vicious attacks on Christianity and the angry repudiation of God’s word are more understandable. To grasp Christ, one must be “poor in Spirit.” One must first seek to do God’s will, to learn what God wants for us, and to try to find it. Only then does Jesus make sense.

One must look up at the sky. As difficult as it is to take our eyes off the addictive chaotic flood of earthly life, we must look away from it to find the truth. Meditation and prayer, with an attitude of humility and knowledge of our ignorance, is the first step to knowing Christ.



Depiction of St. John, cover page from the <i>Book of Kells</i>, ca. 800 A.D.
John the Evangelist, cover page from the Book of Kells, ca. 800 A.D.

Daily Inspiration

“God's Will”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.



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