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Daily Devotion for August 3, 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.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou and Thou only, stay first in my heart,
Great God of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
Great God of Heaven, Thy victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Irish folk melody
(Gaelic) lyrics attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century
This version tr. by Mary Elizabeth Byrne and Eleanor H. Hull
Lord Be with Us
How excellent is your loving kindness, O God; therefore do the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings. Satisfy me, and all who pray with me, with the goodness of your House throughout this day. In your light make us to see light. May your Holy Spirit be with us in prayer and praise, in speaking and hearing from your holy Word. And bless us with all spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ, for His name’s sake.
Prayer to Love Others
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom you have taught us that love is the greatest good; defend me this day against all the instincts that tempt me away from love of my fellow man. Let me put aside every sort of prejudice and bias against other people who are different from me: those who have a different gender, or skin color, or accent, or who have different ideas about politics or how to drive a car or any of the thousand other differences that Satan uses to drive a wedge between me and all the other people of earth.
Let me accept others for who they are. Let me know that they are your creatures, and that you love them just as you love me. Let me not be stingy with my affection or my support of others out of jealousy, or greed, or pridefulness; but look upon the work of others, and their well-being, as I look upon my own.
I am weak, Lord, and I often stumble and let myself lapse into irritation or anger at others; but through your Holy Spirit, all things are possible; and I ask that today you be with me at every moment, and fill me with the capacity for love that only your Spirit can bring to me. In the name of my Lord Christ I ask this,
[Let me look upon the success and well-being of others as I do upon my own.]
I dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.
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.
Proverbs 16:27-28 (NKJV)
An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
Genesis 40:1-15 (abridged) (ESV)
Joseph Interprets the Cupbearer’s Dream
Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined.
And one night they both dreamed, each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”
So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”
Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”
Notes on the Scripture
Joseph demonstrates again his knack for making the best of a bad situation. Although he believes that the interpretation of dreams belongs to God, he does not give any reason why he has been given the power to interpret dreams. But often, in dealing with Old Testament characters, the Bible will simply tell us that a person was favored by God, with no further explanation. Joseph, as we will soon discover, has reason for his boldness.
o dreams still guide us? Does God speak to us in our dreams? Nobody knows. Many scientists despise to admit that they don’t know things. If you ask a person who specializes in the area why people dream, he may or may not tell you the truth: he has no idea. Dreams may be meaningless, generally, but there have certainly been accounts of dreams that changed the world. There have been people who, struggling with a difficult problem, awoke in the night with the answer.
A minister in Philadelphia, who had just visited the Holy Land in 1865, composed the lyrics to the Christmas carol O Little Town of Bethlehem. When he returned, he asked Lewis Redner (the church organist) to set it to music, but Redner drew a blank despite great effort. Then, on the night of December 23, he awoke with a tune in his head that was a perfect fit for the words.
This might easily have been a quirk of psychology rather than some sort of spiritual experience, but who knows for sure? At any rate, Joseph’s ability to prophesy from a cryptic dream, such as the chief cupbearer’s dream of a vine with three branches, is a specific gift from God.