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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 May 31, 2024


<i>Jezebel</i> by Henry John Stock, ca. 1882.
Jezebel by Henry John Stock, ca. 1882.
Another notorious “bad girl,” pictured here as a Victorian woman wearing (of course) a red dress, surrounded by evil influences.

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.

The Pacific Chorale treats us to a gorgeous rendition of a Russian hymn for “Classical Friday.”




Prayer for the Morning

Good morning, dear Father; thank you for this day,
Help me to follow you in every way.
Let me speak as you speak, and do as you do;
Let me help others, as you help them, too.

prayer photo hands

Help me to be honest, don’t let me play games,
Help me to grow, yet still stay the same.
Help me not to be selfish, to give of my heart, my mind and my labor;
Give all - not just part.

Help me to love others, my family, my friends,
Bless all of my foes, help me make amends.
Help me be kind, Father, where I am needed, let
Me give warm attention, and see all needs are met.

Help keep me busy, to strive for the best,
Help me not to be lazy, but find needed rest.
Let me come to you, Father, throughout the day,
Often to thank you, often to pray.

Amen.

To Help Others

Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am - a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.

Amen.

Meditation

A Christian does not have a moral code: a Christian follows a moral code.

Benediction

Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.

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

Psalm 64:10 (NKSV)

The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him.
And all the upright in heart shall glory.


Blue Latin Cross

Judges 16:15-21 (ESV)

Samson, Part 9 — Delilah Learns His Secret
A

nd she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”

Delilah cutting Samsons hair

When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head.

Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.


Notes on the Scripture

As we discussed in the previous installment, if Samson seems rather stupid here, it is a stupidity that occurs time and time again, both in literature and in real life. His weakness for women is shown several times.

His first wife, the Philistine woman of his youth, betrayed him the same way. When he goes to Gaza, the first act we learn of is that he visits a prostitute. His story follow the basic tenets of a Greek tragedy; a great and good man, with a fatal flaw, who becomes proud and careless and is eventually ruined by the flaw in his character.

We see this constantly in the Old Testament: a holy man, a prophet or judge, who ultimately proves imperfect, but is nevertheless loved by God. What we can surely say about them, and the “best” people today, is that they are not Christ. The Old Testament is preparing the Hebrews for the idea that they cannot succeed in finding salvation through the Law, because they cannot keep the Law. We are not perfectible, except by the miracle of the cross.



<i>	
Samson and the Philistines</i>, by Carl Bloch, 1863.
Samson and the Philistines, by Carl Bloch, 1863.

Daily Inspiration

“Calling the Unqualified”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 5:40: If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.



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