September 23 Devotional (2021)

September 23, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Ps 19:7-14  /  Ex 18:13-27  /  Acts 4:13-31

Invitatory

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: Come let us

adore him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, 

* and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, 

* and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The 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,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

The Hymn: 

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” 

by Cecil Alexander

Lyrics:

Each little flower that opens, 

Each little bird that sings, 

God made their glowing colors, 

And made their tiny wings. 

All things bright and beautiful, 

All creatures great and small, 

All things wise and wonderful: 

The Lord God made them all.

The purple headed mountains, 

The river running by, 

The sunset and the morning 

That brightens up the sky. 

All things bright and beautiful, 

All creatures great and small, 

All things wise and wonderful: 

The Lord God made them all. 

The cold wind in the winter, 

The pleasant summer sun, 

The ripe fruits in the garden: 

God made them every one. 

All things bright and beautiful, 

All creatures great and small, 

All things wise and wonderful: 

The Lord God made them all. 

The tall trees in the green wood, 

The meadows where we play, 

The rushes by the water, 

We gather every day. 

All things bright and beautiful, 

All creatures great and small, 

All things wise and wonderful: 

The Lord God made them all. 

God gave us eyes to see them, 

And lips that we might tell 

How great is God Almighty, 

Who has made all things well. 

All things bright and beautiful, 

All creatures great and small, 

All things wise and wonderful: 

The Lord God made them all. [1]


Morning Prayer from The Great Litany

That it may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings, to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of heart as thy servants, and for the common good,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [2]

Short Verse

O Christ, hear us.

O Christ, hear us.

Morning Reading: Psalm 19:7-14

The law gives light

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the decrees of the Lord are sure,

making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right,

rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is clear,

enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are true

and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey,

and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

But who can detect their errors?

Clear me from hidden faults.

Keep back your servant also from the insolent;

do not let them have dominion over me.

Then I shall be blameless,

and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable to you,

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Morning Meditation 

May Your word be my light

“God who sees me, Your word is powerful and beautiful and worthy of study. I desire to imprint it on my heart… Forgive my sins, both intentional and accidental, and line me up even more closely with the pleasing path of Your Law.” [3] I cannot do it on my own. “May I meditate on Your precepts until the words of my mouth are pleasing in Your sight.” [4] When I need wisdom, remind me to search Your word. When I am tired, remind me that my rest is found in Your promise. May Your word be my light. Amen.


Midday Prayer from The Great Litany

That it may please thee to preserve all who are in danger by reason of their labor or their travel,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [5]

Midday Intercession

[7]

Short Verse

“May you be content knowing you are a child of God.”

St. Teresa Of Avila
[8]

Midday Reading: Exodus 18:13-27

Moses appoints judges to keep peace

13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.

Midday Lesson

None more humble than Moses

“The lively interchange between Moses and Jethro,” in verses 14-15, “shows a very human side of Moses. He was driven by a desire to do everything perfectly, but his activities were far too time consuming for one man to bear alone. Jethro observed this [in verses 17 and 18].” [8]

In verses 15-16, Moses said, Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws. “This fascinating verse suggests that God’s laws were general when they were first given, then applied on a case-by-case basis. Doubtless, many of the specific laws in the Book of Exodus are the result of this process, the application of general principles to specific cases (see 21:1).” [9]

“Jethro gave his counsel in the context of his new faith in God, but it was rooted in experience and wisdom he had gained throughout his life.” [10]

“Moses would teach the broad areas of God’s instruction, and others would deal with more mundane cases. Major matters would still be brought to Moses. Jethro listed only five qualifications for the men who would aid Moses. His list has some similarities to the qualifications for church offices in the NT (1 Tim. 3:1–13). (1) They were to be able men having strength, efficiency… (see Gen. 47:6; Ruth 3:11; Prov. 12:4; 31:10). (2) They were to fear God, showing piety, reverence, godly humility, and ready obedience (see Gen. 22:12). (3) They were to be men of truth, conforming to God’s character (see 34:6). (4) They were to be haters of (turners from) covetousness, so they could not be bribed. (5) They were to be ranked, with rulers over them. In other words, each man was to be accountable to someone else.” [11] “Any arrangement must be in keeping with God’s will if it is to be blessed by Him.. [T]his would be for the general welfare of all concerned (see v. 7).” [12]

“We see Moses’ character in this interaction. He was willing to listen to others and to improve the way he was doing things. This was also a mark of his leadership ability and his lack of self-absorbing pride (see Num. 12). The report that Jethro went his way was not a moral judgment, merely a statement about his travels. By going back to his land, Jethro was able to extend the knowledge of the true God at a time when the Israelites mostly kept to themselves. Jethro the priest of Midian had become Jethro the minister of the Lord.” [13]

Saint Augustine said, “God spoke to Moses, did he not? Yet Moses very prudently and humbly yielded to the advice of his father-in-law, foreigner though he was, with regard to governing and directing such a mighty nation. For he realized that from whatever intellect right counsel proceeded, it should be attributed not to him who conceived it but to the One who is the Truth, the immutable God,” (On Christian Teaching, Prologue 7). [14]

Saint Chrysostom emphasized, “[N]othing was ever more humble than [Moses], who, being leader of so great a people, and having overwhelmed in the sea the king and the host of all the Egyptians, as if they had been flies, and having wrought so many wonders both in Egypt and by the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and received such high testimony, yet felt exactly as if he had been an ordinary person. As a son-in-law he was humbler than his father-in-law; Moses took advice from him and was not indignant. Nor did he say, ‘What is this? After such and so great achievements, have you come to us with your counsel?'” (Homilies on 1 Corinthians 1.4). [15]


Eventide Prayer from The Great Litany

From The Great Litany

That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all women in childbirth, young children and orphans, the widowed, and all whose homes are broken or torn by strife,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [16]

Short Verse

“An old man used to say, ‘From the greatest to the least of the things which I perform, I carefully consider the fruit which will be produced from it, whether it be in thoughts, or in words, or in deeds.’”

Sayings of the Holy Fathers
[17]

Eventide Reading: Acts 4:13-31

The believers pray for boldness

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

26 The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Eventide Lesson

Remember to pray for boldness 

In verse 13, Peter and John are noted as being unlearned and unrestrained. This “refers specifically to religious education. This lack of religious training stands in contrast to the expertise of the Sanhedrin. The wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit transcend earthly religious training, for God works in the humble and simple as well as in those who are formally educated.” [18]

“While God commands our obedience to governing authorities (Lk 20:25; Rom 13:1-7), obedience to God comes first. When the two are in conflict, the believer must follow God and be willing to accept the consequences.” [19]

“The admission of a notable miracle without a faithful response illustrates the hardness of the human heart where there is no repentance.” [20] “Locking their hearts, the religious authorities also clos[ed] their eyes and cover[ed] their ears to silence the Word. But the crippled man still [stood], the name of Jesus display[ed] its power, and salvation resides in Him alone. Today, the Lord wants you to stand along with His bold apostles. He pledges His life and blessing to you in the midst of all difficulties.” [21]

The prayer in verses 24-30 “follows a traditional liturgical formula of praise, remembrance of God’s works, and petition.” [22] Notice the words signs and wonders in verse 30. Signs and wonders “are requested, not as ends in themselves, but in order to give boldness to the preachers and to confirm the word they speak (v. 29).” [23]

“While the Holy Spirit continually abides in the Church, His presence is experienced again and again in liturgical assemblies and in recurring pentecostal outpouring. Note how quickly the petition of the apostles was answered” in verses 29-30. [24]

“Mounting pressure [drove] the apostles to prayer. They recit[ed] God’s sure Word and ask[ed] Him for boldness and a demonstration of His presence. Remember to pray for boldness when faced with persecution. Rejoice that the Lord refashions you in His image by His Word and Spirit.” [25]

“Christ , our Savior, give us courage to stand firm…[…] Lord, grant Your Church throughout the world such a prayer for boldness, said with one heart and one Spirit. Amen.” [26]

Compline Prayer

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. [27]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Tickle, P. (2000). September. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 580). New York, NY: Image Books.

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] FRANKLIN, D. (2018). Day 23. In PRAY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR JOURNAL: A daily devotional and reading plan. Uhrichsville, OH: BARBOUR PUB.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[6] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 656). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[7] Dillon, M. (n.d.). 14 of the most powerful PEACE quotes from st Teresa OF AVILA. The Writings of Cora Evans. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/14-Of-The-Most-Powerful-Peace-Quotes-From-St-Teresa-Of-Avila

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Exodus. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 599). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Ibid. 8

[11] Ibid. 8, P. 600

[12] Ibid. 8, P. 600

[13] Ibid. 8, P. 600

[14] Augustine. (2019). Exodus. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 405). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[15] Chrysostom. (2019). Exodus. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 405). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[16] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[17] Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 109).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[18] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1505). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[19] Ibid. 18

[20] Ibid. 18

[21] A., E. E. (2016). Acts. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7480). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[22] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1505-1506). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[23] Ibid. 22, P. 1506

[24] Ibid. 22, P. 1506

[25] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1505-1506). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[26] Ibid. 25

[27] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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