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Jan 04: Gen 7, 8 | Psa 9, 10 | Matt 6

Reading 1 - Gen 8:9

"He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark" (Gen 8:9).

"The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you" (Psa 116:6,7).

Tired, and with no place to set its feet or lay its head, the dove found its way back to the Ark of safety, and Noah stretched out his hand to receive it back to himself. The "father" looked for, and then received back to his bosom the "prodigal son", who -- weary with looking for but finding no resting place -- returns to its home!

Reading 2 - Psa 9:1

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders" (Psa 9:1).

"Praise should always follow answered prayer; as the mist of earth's gratitude rises when the sun of heaven's love warms the ground. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined His ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise Him as long as thou livest. Let the ripe fruit drop upon the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Deny not a song to Him who hath answered thy prayer and given thee the desire of thy heart. To be silent over God's mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is to act as basely as the nine lepers, who after they had been cured of their leprosy, returned not to give thanks unto the healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master's service" (CH Spurgeon).

The word "wonders" is used especially of the great redemptive miracles (ie, Psa 106:7,22) but also of their less lofty counterparts in daily experience (Psa 71:17), and of the hidden wonders of Scripture (Psa 119:18). It is a word reserved for God, and never used of man's feeble and temporary efforts.

Reading 3 - Mat 6:9-13

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (Mat 6:9-13).

  • I cannot say "Our", if my religion has no room for others and their needs.

  • I cannot say "Father", if I do not demonstrate this divine relationship in my daily life.

  • I cannot say "Who art in heaven", if all my interests and pursuits are on earthly things.

  • I cannot say "Hallowed be thy name", if I, who am called by His name, am not holy.

  • I cannot say "Thy kingdom come", if I am unwilling to let go of my own will and accept the righteous rule of God.

  • I cannot say "Thy will be done", if I am unwilling or resentful of having that will done in my life.

  • I cannot say "On earth as it is in heaven", unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.

  • I cannot say "Give us this day our daily bread", without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellowmen.

  • I cannot say "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.

  • I cannot say "Lead us not into temptation", if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.

  • I cannot say "Deliver us from evil", if I am not prepared to fight an uncompromising spiritual warfare against evil.

  • I cannot say "Thine is the kingdom", if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.

  • I cannot say "Thine is the power", if I fear what my neighbors and friends may say about me or do to me.

  • I cannot say "Thine is the glory", if I am seeking my own glory first.

  • I cannot say "Forever", if I am too anxious about each day's affairs.

  • I cannot say "Amen", unless I can honestly say, "No matter the cost to me, this is my prayer."


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