Daily Devotion for January 11, 2017
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 message here — the Heavens tell the glory of God — fills this magnificent chorus with meaning.
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonders of his work displays the firmament;
Today that is coming speaks it the day,
The night that is gone to following night.
In every land [In all the land] resounds the word,
never unperceived, ever understood.
Music by Josef Haydn
Lyrics translated by Robert Shaw, based on Psalm 19.
Prayer to Endure the World
Dear Jesus, look down on me this morning with sympathy, for I feel much afflicted. I have a headache and my back hurts. I did not sleep well and I did not sleep long enough. I am worried about my health, I am worried about my money, I am worried about my family. My home needs repairs. People do not give me the respect I deserve. Nobody listens to me.
There is a certain person who is driving me crazy! I don't have as much energy as I used to and I'm not sure I have enough to get everything done today that I want to do, or even, that I need to do.
The crazy and even destructive things people say in the media and the political mess in my locality and my nation make me despair. How can people be so stupid? They just seem to get worse and worse. The country is run by morons; how can people fail to elect people with some minimum of competence and honesty? Even in the churches, people cannot see or understand the most basic things about you, and the hypocrisy of so many Christians makes me half-ashamed to call myself one sometimes.
And then, Lord Christ, I realize. The world is not perfectible. There is only one place free from pain, worry, frustration, and all of the nonsense and damage that the human mind can create, and that is in your bosom. Hold me tight, Lord Jesus; give me the strength to endure the pain, give me the certainty of hope to avoid the anxiety, give me the blessed knowledge of Your coming again that I might not be stressed out about the things of this world; for they shall pass away soon enough.
And in the meantime, let me grow in you, that I might see my own wrongdoing and with the help of your Spirit, simply dissolve it away. It is in this world that Satan can find his prey, the fertile soil for evil. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, great Lord. Help me to prepare myself, I pray, in the name of Your love,
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Crab Nebula
Proverbs 14:3 (ESV)
From the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,
But the lips of the wise will preserve them.
Genesis 1:1-10 (ESV)
The Creation of the World 
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Notes on the Scripture
mart scientists realize that they have no argument with the Biblical account of creation, and smart theologians realize that they have no argument with scientific accounts of the creation of the universe. The Catholic Church recognizes this; in 2011, Pope Benedict stated openly that the “Big Bang Theory” is consistent with the Bible. Scientists have a much more precise language to describe the events and thus give us a more detailed account of “what”, but they are ultimately helpless to explain “why”.
Genesis, on the other hand, is an account given by God to an ancient, illiterate people. They had no language to describe what happened and the “what” of Genesis is broadly descriptive in terms people could understand. For example, it uses the term “day” to divide the periods of creation; this means something other than a 24-hour period. The passage is a poetic account of actual facts.
But within its literary form, Genesis gives an accurate account of not simply what happened, but more importantly, “why”, a question science does not pretend to understand, much less answer.
The most important part of the creation is the first sentence: “In the beginning, God created . . . .” God had to have existed before the creation of the universe, because He caused it. He made it happen; it was not a random, inexplicable accident.
Interestingly, Genesis 1 does not tell us whether or not anything physical existed before the creation. The Hebrew word translated as “created” tends to be used when something is created out of raw material, like a pot created from clay. God might have created the heavens and earth from something that already existed, just as He created Adam from mud and/or dust.
This would seem to mesh nicely with the scientific theory of a “big bang”. Scientists currently believe that a tiny bit of matter exploded about 14 billion years ago. This explanation — that God created the universe out of something that already existed — also seems more consistent with John 1:1, that God was the intelligence that formed the universe, without mentioning whether or not He also created the matter from which it was formed.
Certainly, God might have created matter and energy, either as part of the account in Genesis, or previously; it would seem logical or even necessary to us that He did this, but logic is not truth. The important point is that the Bible does not tell us
The important point, however, for both the scientist and the Christian, is not to get bogged down in finding discrepancies between scientific and Biblical accounts of the creation; for the discrepancies are an illusion. Scientists are fools if they reject Genesis, for it answers questions they do not have a clue about; and Christians are unwise to reject science out-of-hand, for it reflects the brain God gave us and His will that we be able to explore the world around us.