Newspaper Prayers: Wednesday, February 8th

Headlines from the New York Times for Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trump Calls Hearing on Immigration Ban ‘Disgraceful’ – President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at the judicial branch for considering challenges to his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, asserting that politically motivated judges had held a “disgraceful” federal appeals court hearing Tuesday on the matter.

“I don’t ever want to call a court biased, so I won’t call it biased,” Mr. Trump told a gathering of sheriffs and police chiefs in Washington. “But courts seem to be so political, and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what’s right.”

Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help – The 10:24 a.m. train out of Djibouti’s capital drew some of the biggest names in the Horn of Africa last month.

“It is indeed a historic moment, a pride for our nations and peoples,” said Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister of Ethiopia, shortly before the train — the first electric, transnational railway in Africa — headed toward Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. “This line will change the social and economic landscape of our two countries.”

But perhaps the biggest star of the day was China, which designed the system, supplied the trains and imported hundreds of engineers for the six years it took to plan and build the 466-mile line. And the $4 billion cost? Chinese banks provided nearly all the financing.

Reading from Isaiah 6.1-8 for Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If you are familiar with the grandeur of Isaiah 6.1-8, you may wonder that this passage presents a major question, “Why trust God?” On one hand, we are tempted with pride, pretense, and the idolization of human potential. On the other hand is the need for repentance, cleansing and ethical obedience. People in the second category focus on God’s trustworthiness and his capacity to save those who trust in him. Which one will it be?

Israel never stopped religious ceremony, but in Isaiah’s day it was clear they were largely reliant on human leadership and relegated God to a narrow compartment of religious activity. In an encounter with God, Isaiah realized that God can be trusted in every aspect of life. In fact, reliance on him is the only way to transform a nation from rebellion to usefulness for God’s purposes.

Isaiah experienced the holiness of God, as he heard heavenly creatures declare, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6.3).

John Oswalt (Commentary on Isaiah) explains what it means for God to be holy. He writes: “Whatever the experience did for Isaiah, it convinced him that God alone is holy. Holiness is distinctness, the distinctness of the divine from all other things. God’s holiness is defined by his attitude toward ethical behavior. God’s laws were derived from what made God to be God. The entire nation will be holy to God, and they will manifest that special relationship through a particular species of ethical behavior.”

Prayer for February 8, 2017

Dear God, please help us to have a vision of you that transforms our willingness to trust you. Please forgive us for placing such an emphasis on human leadership, whether it is personal or national. May we conform our lives to the ethics you have demonstrated for us in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

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Bob Spradlingrose-quote

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