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Daily Devotion for November 16, 2012

Joseph and Jacob, by Owen Jones, illustration c. 1869



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.


"For Each New Morning"

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
(From a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Prayer of Thanks

Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.



May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Nun of Saint Clare, in charity and poverty, at devotional prayer
The nuns of the Catholic Order of Saint Clare are especially known for their vow of poverty.


The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.

~ George Muller

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 50:15-21 (ESV)

Joseph Forgives His Brothers

When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.”

Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people [a numerous people] should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Notes on the Scripture

The message of repentance and forgiveness in the last chapter of Genesis is inspiring. In itself the story is straightforward. Notice, though, that there has been no commandment from God concerning forgiveness, either generally to mankind or specifically to Joseph. Even centuries later, when the Hebrews finally receive the law, the idea of forgiveness is not the powerful concept that characterized Christ's teachings and, in fact, His very existence.

Marie Antoinette, the essence of pride
The triumph of pride over
acceptance: Marie Antoinette

Joseph's treatment of his brothers is as much about acceptance as forgiveness. The doctrine of acceptance teaches us not only that we are often not in charge, but also that we should not be in charge. If we are actors on a stage, it sometimes seems as if every cast member wants to direct the play.

But Joseph can see that if his brothers had not sold him into slavery as they did, he would not have gone to Egypt and would not have encouraged Pharaoh to store up grain against the coming famine. Egypt would have starved; more important, the Hebrews might have starved and they surely would not have come to dwell in Egypt. Joseph sees this clearly and realizes that God is in charge of the tribe of Israel; He had a purpose that no human knew, or could possibly know; what seemed to be an evil to the human viewpoint was part of God's plan to save the Hebrews.

Acceptance is a primary Christian virtue; it is the opponent of the great sin, Pride. The first line of the famous Serenity Prayer — "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change" — could use an addendum: "and grant me the humility to realize that, even if I could change anything I wanted, I might only make things worse."

God is in charge; we are not. He has a plan that we do not and cannot know or understand. Our foremost duty is to tend to our own garden. There is nothing in the Gospels that requires us or even authorizes us to try to reshape the world, except one: The duty to spread the Good News of Christ.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

John 14:23-24: Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon