Daily Devotion for January 14, 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.
Saturday is Oldies Day; for those who are too young to remember, Sam Cooke was a huge pop sensation in the 1960s, but few people remember that he started out as a Gospel singer.
Sam Cooke (V. Davis and Theodore Frye)
He's wonderful, God He's wonderful.
The Lord is my shepherd, He's my guide,
Whenever I need, the Lord will provide,
And praise my Lord's name,
I know He's so wonderful.
And O, He's wonderful and I better believe
The Lord is wonderful, oh yes He is.
And O, He's wonderful, I know the Lord,
He's so wonderful.
And O, if you never tried God, try the Lord one day
And see when my father come down and make a way,
And O, I can't help it but love God,
He's so wonderful, wonderful etc.
He's been my mother and my father too,
There's no limit to what my Lord can do
and O, I love God, He's so wonderful.
To Spread Cheer
Holy God, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more cheer than gloom, spread more joy than despair. Let me remind those I meet that our final existence will be total joy, and that we may taste this joy through the Spirit even today. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and forget momentarily all the temporary unpleasantness in their lives. And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper, “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.”
To Help Others with Their Faith
Lord, I am so full of doubt and sin that I sometimes forget: There is always someone weaker in their faith than I am, some brother or sister whom I can help, someone I can support and lift up in their journey. I pray that I might be aware that my fellow saints may need encouragement and that I be qualified to give it. Let me not be critical or judgmental, but supportive and helpful to those struggling.
And I pray, let me always remember that someone might be hiding a struggle, a fear, a sorrow; let me offer words of encouragement and support freely. Let me remember that there are people who hide their insecurity behind a wall of serenity, or defensiveness, or even antagonism, to whom a word of support might make a world of difference.
In Christ's name, I pray,
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
~ C. S. Lewis
The Creation of the World 
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.”
And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.
And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Notes on the Scripture
arming is one of the most fundamental miracles of life. We enjoy and appreciate it less and less as the population grows and we are crammed into crowded cities. By day, we no longer witness the miracle of our food growing, for farming has become the job of a very few people and many great machines working hundreds of miles away. And at night, we are blinded by an artificial world of electric light and television. We do not see the miracle of the universe as our ancestors did.
There is benefit to this, of course. Civilization has traditionally advanced by agricultural improvement: the fewer people it takes to grow food, the more people there are to do other tasks.
And yet we have lost something, and that something is closeness to God. Dirt farmers and shepherds live in the midst of God's daily miracle, for they know that their food comes directly from God's earth, God's sun, God's rain. They cannot take it for granted. You plant a piece of potato or a grain of corn in the ground, and a few months later a plant filled with potatoes or corn has grown. Grass grows up and feeds the animals. A farmer lives in the middle of a miracle. And seeing this miracle constantly, knowing that your life depends upon is, it is impossible not to thank God for it.
Where does Christianity flourish? In agricultural areas, rural farming communities. As cities grow larger and larger, those in them are increasingly removed from the fundamental miracles of life. Great sinfulness and atheism arise in great cities, where the people become blind and deluded, forgetting that the only reason they live from day to day is the miracle of food.
And at night, in farm country, one sees the sky. The world is dark and the sky is filled with the vastness of black space and uncountable stars. A person's ego is checked by the visible evidence of his insignificance. If we stand in a place far from electric light, we are forced to realize that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, and hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.
When we stop to give thanks at a meal, or during prayer, it is good to remember what we may not see so clearly anymore: the simple miracle of our food growing in the ground by day, and the utter vastness and mystery of God's creation by night.