Daily Devotion for January 15, 2012
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 Mormon Tabernacle this week. Pretty good choir!
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our 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.
Psalm 78:21-25 (KJV)
Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
A Sign from God
So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
Notes on the Scripture
Most people have thought or said, at some time in their life, that they wished they had a sign from God. Perhaps they are trying to make a difficult decision, or perhaps they are having a crisis of faith and ask God to give them a sign that He exists, that He is paying attention to them. But there is a problem with our request.
The passage from John occurs just after Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. And yet, after this mind boggling miracle, people are asking him to give them a sign so that they might believe him!
John — whose Gospel is notable for subtlety and multiple meanings — picks out their reference to Psalm 78, a poetic account of Moses leading the Hebrews in the wilderness. In Psalm 78, no matter how many times God performed miracles in the desert for Moses and the Hebrews, many would not believe in Him. They would demand yet another miracle
Just like the Hebrews in the desert, the people talking to Jesus have just witnessed a great miracle, and now, they ask Him for another, so that they might believe. It is doubly ironic, because the miracle they have just witnessed is markedly similar to the manna God sent the Hebrews in the desert; they have eaten bread from heaven.
People who find God in their hearts and see the evidence in the world around them, believe in Him. Those who do not believe, will not believe. It does not matter how many miracles they might see.
Jesus' reply is, basically: "You are alive; that is all the proof you need." There are a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, and a hundred billion galaxies in the universe. Almost all of it is empty space, or immense clouds of hot gases that could consume our planet like a fat man eating a jelly bean. Our existence, spinning through the universe on a tiny spaceship called earth, is so improbable that it is absurd. A billion things have to go right every day, so that we might wake up in the morning.
To ask God for a sign is nonsense. Heaven is not a takeout pizza joint and God is not our delivery boy. If we cannot believe in Him from the miracles we see every day, we cannot expect Him to keep sending more. When asked for another miracle, Jesus tells us that God "gives life to world", and that is all the miracles anybody needs.