Daily Devotion for January 25, 2017
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.
Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear,
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood.
Now we are not afraid;
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains long
Before we knew we could.
There can be miracles, when you believe;
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will,
You will when you believe.
In this time of fear
When prayers so often prove in vain,
Hope seems like the summer birds,
Too swiftly flown away.
Yet now I'm standing here;
My heart's so full I can't explain.
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say.
They don't always happen when you ask
And it's easy to give in to your fears.
But when you're blinded by your pain,
Can't see your way straight throught the rain,
A small but still resilient voice
Says hope is very near.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy: Above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,
To Love Others
Holy Lord, give me the grace to embody love for others in spite of what they say or do, and to express the sacrificial love of Jesus by treating others in the way Jesus treated me. My confidence is in You, and I will steadfastly hold fast to You rather than wringing my hands over the evils in this generation.
May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What verse asks the rhetorical question, “Is Christ divided”?
Map of the Middle East at the Time of Abraham
A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it,
But knowledge is easy to him who understands.
Go from the presence of a foolish man,
When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
Genesis 12:1-9 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan.
When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”
So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
Notes on the Scripture
he history of both Judaism and Christianity begin here. It is where the Jews become the “chosen people”. If Abram will leave his father and travel where God tells him, He will bless Abram's descendants, and even more important (to us), He will bless all the people of earth through Abram.
So Abram, who is probably between 30 and 40 years old in modern terms, takes his wife and nephew and heads south. He had clearly done fairly well in Haran, for he had acquired possessions and “people” (slaves or servants) to take with him. The area is inhabited by Canaanites, a people about whom little is known. They were civilized and Jerusalem was already a city of some significance, but they were minor players, a tribal people caught between the great empires of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Shechem would become a fairly important town, but 4000 years ago it was likely a small and unimportant village. When Abram and his retinue arrive there, God reaffirms his promise and confirms that this is the land He will give to Abram's descendants. Abram builds Him an alter and notably “called upon the name of the Lord”. The name of the Lord (generally translated as “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” in later parts of the Bible) was terribly significant to the Jews; they would not even pronounce it out loud. We are not told how Abram knows this name, but presumably God Himself has given to Abram.
Abram then continues his journey south, again, for reasons unknown to us. The Negeb (today called Negev) is a large arid area at the south of Israel; the northern portion is habitable, but it becomes desert as it leads into the Sinai peninsula between Israel and Egypt.