Daily Devotion for February 4, 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.
Here's a little gospel to put some wind in your sails!
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.
I have a better Caretaker than you and all the angels. He it is who lies in a manger, but at the same time sits at the right hand of God, the almighty Father. Therefore be at rest.
~ Martin Luther
Genesis 15:12-16 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.
Then the Lord said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."
Notes on the Scripture
Abram has heard the wonderful news from God, that he will have a son and descendants as many as the stars in the sky. And having made his sacrifice, the entire scene turns dark, for there is bad news to come. The scene is set like a Greek tragedy; the sun goes down, Abram himself goes from wakefulness to deepest sleep, and the prophecy given to him concerns a dormant, dark period of Jewish history.
In fact, saying that the Hebrews will be sojourners in a strange land and servants is softening the blow; in fact, they will be captives and slaves of the Pharaoh for centuries, although (as we have learned) we cannot trust the term "years", because our calendar did not exist. If we use other passages from the central part of Genesis as a guide, the Egyptian captivity lasted more than 100 and less than 200 of our years.
But there is a silver lining. Abram himself will live a full life, and the Hebrews will return to their land to stamp out idolatry. At the time, the nomadic Amorites were the primary force in Canaan. But this scene will be played out again and again throughout the history of the Jews: capture, servitude and removal or dispersal, followed by a return to their land to reclaim it from heathen squatters.