Daily Devotion for January 29, 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 this week to the Mormon Tabernacle.
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.
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.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying . . . "I will try again tomorrow."
Genesis 13:14-18 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
Today we read one of the most profound moments in human history, God's great promise to Abraham. He gives him Canaan and promises him that his descendants will be as numerous as grains of dust and will inherit the land forever.
There is no other culture on earth like the Jews. In the entire world, no other tribe has survived intact; they have weathered many dispersals and invasions, and languages, empires, and religions have come and gone, but only the Jews cling to an advanced civilization and identity formed 3500 or 4000 years ago.
God's promise that he would give Canaan to Abraham's offspring forever, as improbable as it seems, has held true to this date against overwhelming odds. The contemporary attempts of the much larger, richer and more militarily strong Arab world to "push the Jews into the sea" are only the most recent chapter. Here we are, at least 3500 years later, and somehow they still inhabit Israel. Although the law of Moses was largely transformed by the coming of Christ, the first promise to Abraham has apparently not changed.
God asks Abraham to "lift up your eyes and look from the place you are." This has a literal meaning — God wants Abraham to look at the land. But it has more important symbolic meanings on several levels.
We look down to concentrate on the work of living on earth; when we look up, we symbolically look towards heaven, towards God. God is essentially asking Abraham to stop putting his trust in the work of his own hand, and put his trust entirely in God. It brings to mind the beautiful first verse of Psalm 121, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." Also, Abraham is looking toward the future rather than the immediate moment, and looking at the horizon rather than his current homestead. His vision takes a great leap in terms of both time and scope.