Daily Devotion for April 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.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
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
After 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 six 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 (both human and animal) is a vegetarian. While people were given dominion over animals, neither they nor the animals were given flesh to eat. God's explicit authority for us to eat meat does not appear until after Noah has survived the flood (Genesis 9).