Daily Devotion for February 12, 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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week joint the Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, for a haunting old hymn of Thomas Tallis.
Lyrics by Horatius Bonar, 1808-1899
Music by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I'll walk
Till traveling days are done.
Prayer of Praise to Christ
Lord Jesus, You are the First and the Last, and the Living One; You were dead, but You are alive forevermore, and You have the keys of death and of Hades. You are the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David and the Overcomer. You are the Lamb who was slain and whose blood purchased for God people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You are worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.
The kingdom of the world has become Your kingdom, and You will reign forever and ever. You are called Faithful and True, and in righteousness You will judge and wage war. You are King of kings and Lord of lords. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. And You are coming quickly, and Your reward is with You. Come, Lord Jesus.
Penitential Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake,
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
As I travel through the week ahead, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 14:13 (ESV)
And the end of mirth may be grief.
Genesis 15:7-11 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
And God said to Abram, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
Notes on the Scripture
nd yet again, we are reminded of how ancient the manuscript is that we are reading. The concept that we might worship God by killing animals, and even worse, cutting fully grown large animals such as cattle and sheep in half to put on an altar, is beyond bizarre to us; it is repugnant. Today, Americans, Western Europeans, Indians, and many other societies associate animal sacrifice with hokey, superstitious witchcraft sects, such as Santeria and Voodoo.
Today, in fact, a segment of society considers killing animals to be immoral. There is actually some Biblical authority for treating animals humanely; the law of Moses required that animals be slaughtered in the most humane way possible to them and strictly forbade consumption of bloody meat. This was quite an important law and strictly followed; remember from Acts, that one of the few requirements the Council of Jerusalem placed on allowing Gentiles to join the church was that they cease eating bloody meat or meat from animals slaughtered inhumanely. (Acts 15:27-29)
Kindness to animals, even to the point of not wanting to see them killed, bespeaks a kind and loving heart; but eating meat is not a moral issue in Christian theology, in the strict sense that morals come from God. Christianity neither discourages nor encourages vegetarianism. What Christianity does require is that we not quarrel over it, or pass judgment on one another's eating habits. “Let not the one who eats [meat] despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” (Romans 14:3)
Note that, at the end of today's passage, Abram drives the birds of prey away from the sacrifice. This is a nice bit of symbolism, for the Hebrews will spend the next 1500 years violently defending the worship of the Lord from a constant stream of powerful idol-worshiping empires. Twice they will face nearly total defeat, including slavery and removal from their homeland (by Egypt and Babylonia), but salvation by faith would arrive with divine certainty even in the face of political slavery.