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Daily Devotion for March 18, 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.
Peter, Paul and Mary is not a group one would associate with gospel music, but they really rock this song by the Reverend Gary Davis.
He was the strongest man that ever lived on earth.
One day old Sampson was walking alone
He looked down on the ground and he saw an old jaw-bone.
He lifted up that jaw-bone and he swung it over his head,
And when he got to moving ten thousand was dead.
If I had my way,
If I had my way in this wicked world,
If I had my way
I would tear this building down.
Sampson and the lion got in attack
Sampson he crawled up on the lion's back
You read about this lion - he killed a man with his paw
Sampson he got his hands around the lion's jaw
And he ripped that beast till the lion was dead
And the bees made honey in the lion's head.
Delilah was a woman, she was fine and fair
She had lovely looks, God knows, and cold black hair
Delilah she climbed up on sampson's knee
And said "tell me where your strength lies, if you please"
She talked so fine, she talked so fair,
Sampson said "Delilah, cut off my hair,
Shave my head just as clean as your hand
And my strength will be like a natural man."
Prayer for Morning
In the morning when I rise, I give praise to my God, who shows His glory in the sun. O Lord God, you are the source of all warmth, all light, all sustenance. You brings us out of the darkness of ignorance and the blindness of death every day, that we might remember who made us and who sustains us. Your sun is a promise, that the night of death will end and you will rise again, and with you, all who confess the name of your blessed Son, Christ Jesus.
Let me remember you when I rise and all the day, my God, every waking moment; and let me sleep each night in peace, confident that I will rise with your sun once again, in the time you have chosen for me.
For Those Who Suffer
God of time and of eternity, in your hands you hold the souls of the righteous, and in your heart there is room for all people; shine forth upon all who are tried in the furnace of suffering and illness, and especially on those for whom I pray today; in your grace and mercy may we know that you watch over us; bring us at the last to abide with you in love; I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,
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.
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
Genesis 19:12-22 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Sodom
Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Move! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”
And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there — is it not a little one? — and my life will be saved!”
He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
Notes on the Scripture
We see, in hindsight, the sheer foolishness of Lot and his family. Angels of God come to them and tell them that the city is to be completely destroyed; but they don't leave. If we think this is unusual, we have only to think about what happens even today, when people are warned that a terrible hurricane is coming and they must evacuate. There are always a “lot” (sorry) who simply will not leave. In terms of human nature, the story of Lot and his family is entirely credible.
But, like the National Guard sometimes forces unwilling people to leave their homes before a hurricane arrives, the angels resort to physical force in order to save their lives.
For some reason that is not given, Lot doesn't want to flee to the hills, but to a small town at the south end of the Jordan Valley. “Zoar” in Hebrew means “small” or “insignificant”. Like many of the cities in Genesis and other early historical books of the Old Testament, archeologists have not been able to find any definitive evidence that it existed; but unlike most others, there is ample evidence of it in other books. Arab geographers praised it for the sweetness of its dates — an important food in arid parts of the mideast — and it was still standing during the first crusade (about 900 years ago) and we thus have descriptions of it from European sources, as well.
Lot's righteousness is apparent, because God grants him the same level of familiarity as He did to Abraham. Lot is allowed to negotiate with God Himself! There seems to be some detail that has been lost over time, but for whatever reason, God, having acceded to Lot's request, does not want to commence His destruction of Sodom until Lot reaches Zoar.
Zoar was probably about ten miles from Sodom. See Map.