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Daily Devotion for January 26, 2014
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.
For the Spirit of Prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,
Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.
Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.] But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.
[Let us close our eyes for a minute and meditate on what it means to be forgiven for our sins.]
Song of Praise
Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord you heavens: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord you angels of the Lord: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord all people on earth: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
O people of God bless the Lord: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord you priests of the Lord: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord you servants of the Lord: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord all you of upright spirit: bless the Lord you that are holy and humble in heart.
All Bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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 righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Genesis 1:28-31 (ESV)
Dominion and Stewardship
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Notes on the Scripture
After God made the earth, and filled it full of plants and animals, He gave us dominion over it and all the creatures within it. He made us the kings, the rulers, and turned it over to us. (And we, no doubt, immediately began to complain about things we didn't like.)
It is difficult to remember, even when we give thanks, all of the extraordinary things that make earth habitable. We do not even think to thank God for gravity, or for phenomena in the atmosphere that keep the sun from killing us (such as the Van Allen belt). Earth is a very well-constructed spaceship!
Like kings and queens throughout history, we have shown more talent at accepting the bounty of earth than in taking the responsibility for its care. It becomes even more difficult for us because we have to share it with six or seven billion other people, every one of whom is born with the same pride and greed as we ourselves. In some ways, we are more “members of congress” than kings and queens.
But people, with rare exceptions, do have dominion over part of the world. And it is up to us, in both capacities, to be wise in our management of the earth we were given. We have power, and if we don't like the sandspurs growing in our lawn, we have both the right and the power to pluck them out.
Note one oddity of Genesis 1: everyone (both human and animal) is a vegetarian. While people were given dominion over animals, neither they nor the animals were given flesh to eat. God's explicit authority for us to eat meat does not appear until after Noah has survived the flood (Genesis 9).