Daily Devotion for February 4, 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.
Oddly, Elvis Presley won only three Grammy Awards in his life; but even odder, all three were for a gospel song: How Great Thou Art.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
To Take up the Shield of Faith
Heavenly Father, let me take up the shield of faith this morning and carry it before me throughout the day. For the darkness of the world attacks my soul from every direction.
The world wants me to hate myself and hate you, precious Lord. It tries at every turn to seduce me to the emptiness of revenge. It lures me to the love of money. Envy, anger, and vanity are the traps it sets. It tells me to worship myself until I am hollow. Pride is its bait, and death is its reward.
Defend me, I pray, against the constant assault of impurity that life in the world brings. Great and powerful God, I take up your shield, the only shield that can protect me: my hope and certainty that your love and promise to protect me, for all eternity, will be with me for the asking. For the only truth is yours, the only power is yours, and our only hope lies in you, our true and mighty and loving God. In Christ's name I pray,
For Teachers and Students
Almighty God, I pray to you to look with favor upon our universities, colleges, and schools, that knowledge may be increased among us, and sound learning flourish and abound. Bless all who teach and all who learn; and grant that in humility of heart they may ever look to you, the fountain of all true wisdom, and not be led by the devices of their minds into the pride and hollowness that comes from knowledge without truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What does Christ tell us to do if we are sued?
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying . . . "I will try again tomorrow."
Genesis 13:14-18 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
Today we read one of the most profound moments in human history, God's great promise to Abraham. He gives him Canaan and promises him that his offspring will be as numerous as grains of dust and will inherit the land forever.
Who are the offspring of Abraham? We are! For thousands of years the Jews assumed that they were the offspring of Abraham, and indeed, the covenant of Moses appeared to be the fulfillment of God’s promise to him. And David conquered almost all of the land; for perhaps 40 years, David’s son Solomon appeared to achieve the promise.
But as we will learn from the Gospels, it is not the Jews, but those who put their faith in Christ who will ultimately inherit the promise to Abraham. “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed. . . . And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’” (Galatians 3:8-9, 29) Christ was the fullfillment of the Law. (Matthew 5:17-18)
God asks Abraham to “lift up your eyes and look from the place you are.” This has a literal meaning — God wants Abraham to look at the land. But it has more important symbolic meanings on several levels.
We look down to concentrate on the work of living on earth; when we look up, we symbolically look towards heaven, towards God. God is essentially asking Abraham to stop putting his trust in the work of his own hand, and put his trust entirely in God. It brings to mind the beautiful first verse of Psalm 121, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
Abraham is looking toward the future rather than the immediate moment, and looking at the horizon rather than his current homestead. His vision takes a great leap in terms of both time and scope.