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Daily Devotion for September 23, 2015
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.
The great Karl Richter playing the great Toccata and Fugue in D minor by the great J.S. Bach on the great 1766 Riepp organ at Ottobeuren Monastery, Germany, is just, well, too great for words.
Prayer for Morning
Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praises; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.
Prayer to be Free of Anger
Lord Christ, you taught us that anger with our brethren is a violation of your law, that it condemns us just as murder condemns us. Let me see clearly that anger is moral filth, as your servant James taught us. And yet, anger arises in my mind. [Pause to remember occasions when you have been angry recently.] I repent my anger, and ask that I be forgiven for this sin, by my faith in you.
Holy Spirit, be with me now and help me to recognize my anger instead of denying it. Teach me to forgive each and every act that makes me angry. Where I have been directly offended, grant me the spirit of forgiveness; where I have become angry over things I have seen other people do or heard them say, imbue me with such a powerful sense of acceptance that my anger will disappear. Let me remember always, Holy God, that I am not in charge of the world; You are. Give me total faith that you know what you are doing.
I pray not to live with suppressed anger, nor to deceive myself by denying my anger when I have merely suppressed it, but let it be utterly abolished within me. Grant me to live in love and peace, as my Savior did and taught us to do. Let my anger be crucified, I pray in your name, Lord Christ,
[Do I recognize my anger instead of denying it?]
And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
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.
Risk and Reward
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”
~ David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
Exodus 9:25-35 (NIV)
The Seventh Plague: Hail 
Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields — both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”
Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”
(The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)
Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.
Notes on the Scripture
In the progression of severity, the seventh plague crosses the line into loss of human life. This is implied rather than stated directly; in the last lesson we learned that those who remained in the field would die, and today, we learn that some Egyptians did, in fact, fail to take cover.
t is a lesson within a lesson. Overall, Pharaoh is being taught that opposition to God means, ultimately, death and ruin. But in the short run, Egypt learns to heed the Word of God in at least a short-term, immediate setting; those who learn the intermediate lesson and have the sense to get indoors, live.
The ruination brought by Pharaoh's continued exercise of pride is moderate. Those who bring their people and animals into shelter lose only part of their food crops; God has not condemned them to starvation.
But Moses makes a grand statement. The great lesson is not that Pharaoh must let the Hebrews go, but that "the earth is the Lord’s."
At Pharaoh's mouthing the right words, praising God's power and promising to let the Hebrews go, Moses prays for the storm to cease, and it does. But note, Moses now realizes that Pharaoh is not sincere and will go back on his promise as soon as the plague ends. Moses is learning a lesson himself: patience. God works His plans in His own good time. To paraphrase an old saying about the law, "The wheel of God grinds slow, but it grinds exceeding small."