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Daily Devotion for February 8, 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.
Dottie Rambo (the small, dark-haired woman), the “Queen of Gospel Music,” did not have much voice left when this was recorded, a few years before her death in 2008, but it is a special to hear her sing a few words of one of the 2,500 songs she wrote. Her friend Vestal Goodman sings the solo.
The holy hills of heaven call me
to mansions bright across the sea,
where loved ones wait and crowns are given,
the hills of home keep calling me.
This house of flesh is but a prison
bars of bone hold my soul,
but the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open
when the angels set my spirit free,
I’ll take my flight like the mighty eagle
when the hill of home start calling me.
I see loved ones over yonder,
tears are gone and hearts are free,
and from the throne my Savior beckons,
and the hills of home keep calling me.
Music and Lyrics by Dottie Rambo.
Prayer of Resolve
Blessed Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve — and will try this day with my full heart — to imitate Your example, to be like You: mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and kind. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with this day — not only people I like — and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever.
For the Departed
We give back to you, O God, those whom you gave to us. You did not lose them when you gave them to us, and we do not lose them by their return to you. Your dear Son has taught us that life is eternal and love cannot die. So death is only an horizon, and an horizon is only the limit of our sight.
Open our eyes to see more clearly, and draw us closer to you that we may know that we are nearer to our loved ones, who are with you. You have told us that you are preparing a place for us; prepare us also for that happy place, that where you are we may also be always, O dear Lord of life and death.
[Giving those who have died back to God.]
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
But its end is the way of death.
Genesis 14:13-16 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram.
When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus.
Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
Notes on the Scripture
We have discussed several times how old the events of Genesis are and how small, in modern terms, the numbers of people were. Here, the Bible gives us a vivid demonstration, for Abram pursues and defeats the mighty army of Elam and its confederates with an “army” of 318 men. This number seems small even for that time, however; most likely, Mamre and his brothers are mentioned because all of them contributed soldiers. The campaign would have taken some time, for they pursued their enemies all the way to Damascus on foot, perhaps 100 miles through difficult terrain.
We learn enough to be able to fill in some of the sketchy details about Abram's early life. He had become a rich and powerful leader: The verse tells us the army was his trained men, “born in his house”, which means not only that he had a great number of followers, but also that they were sufficiently independent and well-organized to train men as soldiers.
Moreover, Abram is apparently acting as a general and devises a tactic to win back his nephew Lot. The army led by Elam took Lot's entire people as slaves — men, women, children and all their possessions. Abram personally leads the campaign to free them.
Unlike many of the tribes involved, archaeologists know quite a bit about the Amorites. There were a lot of them, a nomadic Semitic people who came from unknown regions (most likely Syria) and played havoc with the politics of Mesopotamia. They never organized into a truly great empire, for they were independent-minded.
They eventually formed a number of small kingdoms but they were gradually picked off and absorbed by greater empires, including the Hebrews; for many centuries later, Joshua would conquer and absorb a number of Amorite cities in the creation of Israel.
Abram did well to make peace with them, for Mamre must have been fairly powerful; remember, when Abram first left Ur, he stopped at the “oaks of Mamre” and built his first altar to the Lord, and dwelt nearby for many years until driven to Egypt by famine; so Mamre must have already been prominent when Abram and his family were no more than a family wandering in search of a home.