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Daily Devotion for February 24, 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.
Prayer at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sisters.
This in Christ's name, I pray,
Thank You Lord
Sometimes I stop and wonder why you're still here; Or what is good about me, and why you even care.
You're always there with me to help me out each day; Even though I seldom listen to the words you have to say.
The things I always pray for, I know they will come true; My joy and peace you give me when each day is new.
You continue to forgive me for all that I have done; When nights are filled with sorrow, the day will bring the sun.
In days full of trouble, and friends won't say hi; I know you will be there with me to take me if I die.
For who am I to deserve the grace you have shown; Thank you Lord for keeping me, when life for me was cold.
by Gary R. Ferris
[How often do I listen to God’s words in my daily life?]
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
heavn'ns wind awake, Sweet quick
ning gales to me afford, My gra
ces lively make. Sharp northern bla-
sts send to convince, And cause
the south winds blow, With breath-
ings warm assist my mints, And
make my spices flow. Martha Ann
Little worked this in the year 1824.”
The Nearness of the Spirit
We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.
~ A.W. Tozer
Exodus 32:30-35 (ESV)
The Golden Calf 
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin — but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
Notes on the Scripture
The parallel between Moses and Christ is never stronger than here, where Moses offers to give up his life to remit the sins of the Hebrews. But God refuses. Moses, the greatest of prophets, is not the Messiah.
Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science in 1879. It was a popular religious movement but has declined sharply in recent years.
Instead, God will visit an earthly punishment on Israel: a plague. Recall, that one of the promises He made for faithful obedience was good health, in Exodus 23. Good health, long life, and children are tied strongly to following God's will in Exodus.
One might speculate whether Christians today are healthier than others; but unbiased data are hard to find. A reasonably scientific study in Texas in 1999 found a pronounced correspondence with church attendance and longer lifespan, and a "meta-study" (consolidation of a number of well-documented studies) published in The Washington Times, June 5, 2000, found that churchgoers lived 29% longer (whatever that means). The author, Michael McCullough of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, said: “We think this analysis pretty much establishes that this correlation of religious involvement and mortality exists, but also points to the need for a lot more research to determine just how and why it has an effect.”
But causation is nevertheless a problem. When atheistic social scientists hear a report like this, they immediately start finding non-religious reasons for the statistical difference, ascribing it to, say, increased social support. And, for all we know, they are correct. We certainly do not live under the Old Covenant, and we (mostly) expect our reward after death.
he other interesting question raised by this passage is Moses' remark, “blot me out of your book.” What? What book? This is the first time we hear that God is keeping a book of names of those whom He finds worthy (although there are little hints previously). Judaism and Islam have a strong tradition of God's Book, and the idea of God writing and erasing names in it. But other than one or two oblique hints, in the context of Exodus, this really comes out of left field. We must infer, from the lack of theological preparation, that it is meant more as an analogy or metaphor than a literal truth.
As Christians, we do not use the God's Book metaphor, because our judgment is not an open-ended process. Christ was appointed by God to judge “the quick [living] and the dead’ on the Day of Judgment. We certainly have an ongoing relationship with God, especially through the Holy Spirit, and who is to say whether God rewards and punishes us during our lives? But the important matter of our eternal life and salvation will be judged one time, en masse, at the end of days.