Daily Devotion for February 18, 2016
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 Joy in God's Creation
O Heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open my eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that rejoicing in your whole creation, I may learn to serve you with gladness, faithfully managing your bounty; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for the Rich and Famous
Heavenly Father, I pray especially today for those who have great wealth, for those who hold great power; for the rich, the famous, the beautiful, the talented, the intelligent: for all who have been given an unusual abundance of earthly gifts and enjoy the accolades of their fellow man. Guide them in the use of their gifts, O Lord, but especially, have mercy on them, for with great blessings come great temptation to pride.
I pray especially for those who are so blinded by earthly gifts that they deny Your name, or if they believe, are blinded to their sin by their earthly glory and cannot find their way to the light. Grant them the blessing of your Holy Spirit, and lead them to salvation. Let me always forgive them when their pride or privilege irritates my own pride; give me understanding and not judgment; lead me to love them as you have taught us to love all men. For judgment is yours alone, and they deserve your mercy no less than I. In Christ's name, I pray,
For a Positive Attitude Today
Lord, as I offer you all that is ordinary and everyday in my life, I ask you to give me the power of your Spirit that I may transform each day by living with a positive attitude, looking for the best in people and situations. Inspire me to live in your presence every day so that I may have a full share of the hope only your Spirit can bring; lead me do the ordinary things of life in an extraordinary way, to your glory.
[Jesus is the bread of life.]
Blessing for the Day
Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always,
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.
Answers to Prayers
There are four ways God answers prayer: 1) No, not yet; 2) No, I love you too much; 3) Yes, I thought you’d never ask; 4) Yes, and here’s more.
~ Anne Lewis
God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer is, you’ve got to be kidding!
~ Jimmy Carter
Exodus 32:9-14 (The Message)
The Golden Calf 
God said to Moses, “I look at this people — oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! Let me alone now, give my anger free reign to burst into flames and incinerate them. But I’ll make a great nation out of you.”
Moses tried to calm his God down. He said, “Why, God, would you lose your temper with your people? Why, you brought them out of Egypt in a tremendous demonstration of power and strength. Why let the Egyptians say, ‘He had it in for them — he brought them out so he could kill them in the mountains, wipe them right off the face of the Earth.’
Stop your anger. Think twice about bringing evil against your people! Think of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants to whom you gave your word, telling them ‘I will give you many children, as many as the stars in the sky, and I’ll give this land to your children as their land forever.’”
And God did think twice. He decided not to do the evil he had threatened against his people.
Notes on the Scripture
This passage has enormous importance in instructing us about our relationship with God. Heretofore in Exodus, we have seen two types of relationship: First, God as the giver of absolute laws, who speaks and expects obedience. But earlier, in the burning bush verses, Moses protested against the role God wanted to give him and argued that he was not suited to it; but God patiently persevered and eventually convinced Moses.
ere, we see a third type of relationship: For not only does Moses argue with God, but also, his argument prevails. He intervenes for the Hebrews against God's expressed intention of destroying them and starting over — the verse “I will make a great nation out of you” means that God proposes to destroy all of the Hebrews except Moses and make Moses a new single patriarch, like Abraham, whose children will become God's chosen.
Moses makes three arguments. 1) God should not nullify His great work in bringing the Hebrews out of Egypt; 2) Even worse, the Egyptians would consider themselves victorious over Yahweh and say that His intention was to destroy the Hebrews all along; and 3) It would not be consistent with God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This intimate relationship with God reminds us very much of Abraham, especially where Abraham pleads with God not to destroy Sodom in Genesis 18. In fact, with Abraham, God appeared as an ordinary man and practically engaged him in friendly conversation.
What are we to make of this? How are we to speak to a God, who at one moment shows Himself as a terrifying pillar of fire that will kill anyone who sets foot on Mount Sinai, and at another moment will allow a man to argue with Him and change his mind? Who will do what a man asks, instead of what He has said He would do?
Apparently, when we have sincere faith and trust in God, we are allowed to ask Him to do things and even argue with Him. We always pray "thy will be done" as a sort of overarching principle of our desires, for we always must keep in mind the theological argument that God actually knows exactly what will happen and exceeds our capabilities by an infinite factor.
Nevertheless, God will listen to His faithful and (apparently) allow them to intervene in His plans. This is a mystery that the human mind cannot fathom, and we cannot expect that God will always answer "yes". But if we read this passage without preconception, we have to conclude that God allows us to ask and even argue, if we pray in humility and faith.