Daily Devotion for March 15, 2013
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.
This song has a special religious significance in South Africa. "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
Penitential Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake,
Prayers for Those Torn by Alcohol and Drugs
I pray, O God of hope, for all persons and families whose lives are torn and disrupted by drugs and alcohol. Enable them to identify the illness. Strengthen them to seek help. Bless them with the power of your love, which imparts transformation and wholeness to those who trust in your name. Grant that as they walk this tortured road, they may journey together and bound close in the bond of love. Shine your light upon them, Lord Christ, that they may see the path out of their misery, and give them the strenght to follow it.
Prayer for Bearing Troubles
O God, our help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the prayers of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner; have mercy upon me, and deliver me from the troubles that torment me, even though I might deserve them. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that you sometimes give us the trials of this life for our chastisement, when we drift away from you, and disobey your will; deal not with me according to my sins, but according to your endless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. In the name of Christ I pray,
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
What is Home?
"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."
Exodus 15:1, 13-21 (ESV)
The Song of Moses 
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, . . .
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O Lord, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
For when the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them, but the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea.
Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them:
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
Notes on the Scripture
Exodus is a popular, fascinating, and enduring Bible story, but often we do not fully understand why. If we read the second half of the Song of Moses and let it sink in a bit, the meaning of Exodus and the meaning of life begin to coalesce, for it is the story of every person seeking God, the overarching story of the Bible.
God has seen fit, in his graciousness, to manifest Himself to us repeatedly throughout the ages; and the reason He comes is to lead us to the place where He lives. We are mired in slavery. And the power which binds us, call it mortality or Satan or what you will, is indeed powerful. It is immediate. And we are used to it and fear to abandon the "obvious" way to live, the path of least resistance, a life that often seems to consist largely of trying to crawl to the top of a cage of angry rats.
The song, note, reads "You have guided them to your holy abode," even though the Hebrews have just begun their arduous journey. God has come to them, as Christ came to us, but — for reasons we cannot hope to understand — He does not just snap His fingers. If that was God's will, life on earth would hardly need to exist. The Hebrews will have to struggle, suffer, and fight over the course of forty years even to begin their habitation of the Promised Land.
And in this time, they will have to have utter faith in God, and worship Him in faith, for their very lives depend on Him. Ours do also — but it is immediately visible to the Hebrews, who are stuck in the middle of a hostile desert without much food or water, surrounded by aggressive and pitiless armies, larger and stronger than they.
Once we realize that we are in the same position as the Hebrews, wisdom comes. We blind ourselves to our fragility; but like the Egyptians, we live solely by the direct intervention of God, on the edge of a vast cosmos that could annihilate us in an instant.
Jesus came to take us home, to His home. We live in faithfulness, relying on His promise; and Exodus gives us heart. For the journey of the Hebrews was long and arduous, but as He always does and always will, God kept His promise to them.