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Daily Devotional Prayer

Daily Devotion for July 23, 2024


Masaccio <i>The Tribute Money</i>
The Tribute Money, by Masaccio, ca. 1427.
This fresco from the great cathedral of Florence has enormous importance in the world of art history.
Three scenes in story of the temple tax (from Matthew) occur. In the center, Pharisees challenge Christ about paying the temple tax to Rome. On the left, Peter finds a gold coin in the mouth of a fish, and on the right, he pays it to a tax collector. (See full-size..)

Prayers

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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.

The Morning “Lorica” (Prayer) of Saint Patrick

I  arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

Stained glass drawing of Moses by James Frederick Fields ca. 1900

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun,
the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth
the firmness of rock.

I arise today through the power of God:
God’s might to comfort me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to lead me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s Heavenly Host to save me
from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin,
from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar,
alone and with others.

May Christ shield me today
against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Amen.

For Mercy

Son of God, true God, who descended from the bosom of the Father, and took flesh of the Virgin Mary for our salvation, who was crucified and buried, and rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before You; remember me like the thief on the cross, when You come into Your kingdom. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.

Amen.

Meditation

“Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace.

Benediction

Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ 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.


A pretty worship song based on Psalm 42, from contemporary sensation CityAlight.



Scripture

What Has God Promised?

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower–strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

~ Annie Johnson Flint


Blue Latin Cross

Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)

L

et every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Notes on the Scripture

Submission to the Authorities

In a participatory democracy, today’s passage creates complexities unknown at the time of Paul. We choose the government; they (at least theoretically) answer to us, not vice versa. And, egged on by the media who will excoriate government officials for many reasons—some fully justified, some rather petty, and some just wrong—we develop an attitude of disrespect.

Yet, Paul’s message still stands, and it reflects the teaching of Christ. Keep in mind, first of all, that it is addressed to Christians; it is written in the context of the sacrifice of our body that we have made to God. God’s grace is not a part-time blessing.

There is nothing in the Bible that tells us not to vote or support a political candidate. In fact, one could argue in good faith that voting is a duty. Not to vote actually smacks slightly of disobedience to the governing authority; follow Paul’s admonitions would therefore tell us we should vote, as an act of obedience.

But becoming involved in politics is a slippery slope and it is easy to fall into a trap where earthly power takes the forefront and Christ takes second seat. Where churches or church leaders do it, their Christian beliefs are always warped by their politics. Their credibility is damaged in the eyes of others and their ability to bring people to Christ is lessened. Our lives have one crucial truth and one crucial aim; our salvation by the grace of God, brought about by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Shall we then spend our time vociferously fighting about divisive earthly conflicts?

We seek and know perfect truth, and there is no perfect truth in politics. We seek to love and live in harmony with all, and politics quickly becomes angry and divisive. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”

Our duty as Christians is to obey and respect, not to control and attack, the government. So let us always pray for humility and remember, when we set out to change the world, that God is in charge. His will is going to be done.

We also see some tension between Paul’s teaching here and the implied teaching in Acts 5, where Peter and the apostles refuse to obey the high priests’ order to stop teaching about Jesus. “We must obey God rather than men,” they say, and continue to teach. Since we are only a few days away from studying Chapter 5 of Acts, we will leave further discussion of this issue until then.



Daily Inspiration

“Judgment”


Happiness Kit
Happiness by John Holcroft, 2014. Biting satire from a contemporary artist.

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Deuteronomy 10:17-19: The Lord your God . . . loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.


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