Daily Devotion for January 20, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
~ C. S. Lewis
The Creation of the World 
And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth."
And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so.
And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.
And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Notes on the Scripture
Farming is one of the most fundamental miracles of life. We enjoy and appreciate it less and less as the population grows and we are crammed into crowded cities. By day, we no longer witness the miracle of our food growing, for farming has become the job of a very few people and many great machines working hundreds of miles away. And at night, we are blinded by an artificial world of electric light and television. We do not see the miracle of the universe as our ancestors did.
There is benefit to this, of course. Civilization has traditionally advanced by agricultural improvement: the fewer people it takes to grow food, the more people there are to do other tasks.
And yet we have lost something, and that something is closeness to God. Dirt farmers and shepherds live in the midst of God's daily miracle, for they know that their food comes directly from God's earth, God's sun, God's rain. They cannot take it for granted. You plant a piece of potato or a grain of corn in the ground, and a few months later a plant filled with potatoes or corn has grown. Grass grows up and feeds the animals. A farmer lives in the middle of a miracle. And seeing this miracle constantly, knowing that your life depends upon is, it is impossible not to thank God for it.
Where does Christianity flourish? In agricultural areas, rural farming communities. As cities grow larger and larger, those in them are increasingly removed from the fundamental miracles of life. Great sinfulness and atheism arise in great cities, where the people become blind and deluded, forgetting that the only reason they live from day to day is the miracle of food.
And at night, in farm country, one sees the sky. The world is dark and the sky is filled with the vastness of black space and uncountable stars. A person's ego is checked by the visible evidence of his insignificance. If we stand in a place far from electric light, we are forced to realize that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, and hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.
When we stop to give thanks at a meal, or during prayer, it is good to remember what we may not see so clearly anymore: the simple miracle of our food growing in the ground by day, and the utter vastness and mystery of God's creation by night.