Daily Devotion for July 23, 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” takes us to the Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) in Morristown, NJ, for a beautiful old hymn.
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?
Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.
On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will talk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.
Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.
At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Savior’s face,
Saints, whom death will never sever,
Lift their songs of saving grace.
Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.
Music and Lyrics by Robert Lowry, 1864
For the Spirit of Prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,
Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon
Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.]
But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
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.
Proverbs 12:10 (NKJV)
A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Genesis 1:28-31 (ESV)
Dominion and Stewardship
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Notes on the Scripture
fter God made the earth, and filled it full of plants and animals, He gave us dominion over it and all the creatures within it. He made us the kings, the rulers, and turned it over to us. (And we, no doubt, immediately began to complain about things we didn’t like.)
It is difficult to remember, even when we give thanks, all of the extraordinary things that make earth habitable. We do not even think to thank God for gravity, or for phenomena in the atmosphere that keep the sun from killing us (such as the Van Allen belt). Earth is a very well-constructed spaceship!
Like kings and queens throughout history, we have shown more talent at accepting the bounty of earth than in taking the responsibility for its care. It becomes even more difficult for us because we have to share it with over seven billion other people, every one of whom is born with the same pride and greed as we ourselves. In some ways, we are more “members of congress” than kings and queens.
But people, with rare exceptions, do have dominion over part of the world. And it is up to us, in both capacities, to be wise in our management of the earth we were given. We have power, and if we don’t like the sandspurs growing in our lawn, we have both the right and the power to pluck them out.
Note one oddity of Genesis 1: everyone was supposed to be a vegetarian. While people were given dominion over animals, they were not given authority to eat their flesh. God's explicit authority for us to eat meat does not appear until after Noah has survived the flood (Genesis 9).
Also, note the passage from Proverbs. A righteous man “regards” his animals, which in ancient Hebrew meant “treats them decently.” There is not much in the Bible about treatment of animals, but this passage equates cruelty to animals with wickedness.