Daily Devotion for September 18, 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.
The profundity of J.J. Heller’s songs constantly amazes me. This song speaks immediately to a very small group, almost impossible for most of us to understand: people, primarily teenage and young adult women, who cut themselves with razor blades to relieve emotional pain. But it speaks generally to all of us, in our attempts to solve our own problems of imperfection.
The cut is deep, but never deep enough for me.
It doesn't hurt enough to make me forget.
One moment of relief is never long enough
To keep the voices in my head
From stealing my peace.
Oh, control -
It's time, time to let you go.
Perfection has a price,
But I cannot afford to live that life.
It always ends the same; a fight I never win.
I'm letting go of the illusion;
I'm letting go of the confusion;
I can't carry it another step.
I close my eyes and take a breath;
I'm letting go, letting go.
There were scars before my scars,
Love written on the hands that hung the stars;
Hope living in the blood that was spilled for me.
Music and Lyrics by JJ Heller
Prayer for Facing Trials
Lord, I have planned my strategies and figured out how I will try to solve my problems, yet, I have not consulted you. I am a fool, Lord; forgive me. For I know that my problems are not simply problems that were given me to solve, but also burdens that you have allowed me to bear, and that the purpose of these burdens is to show me that you and only you can lift them from me.
I cannot do it myself, great God; only by my prayer to you, can my burdens ever be satisfied. And I pray to you now, take up my burdens while I am on earth, today, just as you will take them up when I am with you in heaven. By the grace you gave me through the sacrifice of your only Son, relieve me. May I do your will while I am alive, just as I will do your will when I am together with you again, in paradise. For there and noplace else lies my salvation, and all true happiness.
To Overcome a Persistent Sin
Lord God, it seems that I have a habit I just cannot break. It sneaks into my life, no matter what I do. I confess it and repent it, trying not to feel guilty , but it just keeps coming back. It pops into my head automatically and I give into it, time and time again, often not intending to do it but easing into it one small step at a time.
Dear God, you have promised that there is no temptation that we cannot overcome with your help, and that if we pray, you will send a Spirit more powerful than any sin to help us bear it. I am asking for just such a Spirit. Please God, I beg you, help me to overcome this persistent sin; for I am powerless over it. No matter how hard I try, I cannot shake it on my own. Show me the way, Lord, and if there are steps I must take, I will take them. For I am sick and tired of it and want to change. And I know — I know as a certainty — that your infinite power can overcome any human frailty.
In the name of the loving Christ, I pray,
[God’s infinite power of forgiveness.]
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 86:6-10 (NKJV)
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
Genesis 47:13-22 (ESV)
Joseph and the Famine 
Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.
And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.
And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”
So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.
Notes on the Scripture
This description of Joseph’s consolidation of wealth and power in the Pharaoh confounds the understanding of both Bible scholars and Egyptologists. Early Egyptian history was unbelievably complex, and our understanding of it is based on limited information, for it occurred at the dawn of the written word. By the time of Jacob, Egypt had already had somewhere between 15 and 18 different and identifiable dynasties.
ost likely, Joseph was instrumental in the rise of the 18th dynasty. This is the most famous of all the Egyptian dynasties today, for it was the dynasty of Tutankhamen and Nefertiti. It spanned the years 1550 B.C.to 1292 B.C., which would put it at least roughly during the time associated with Jacob and the formation of Israel as a cohesive tribe. Moreover, Ramses the Great ruled from about 1279 B.C to 1213 B.C. and, although he is not named in the Bible, most depictions of Moses and the Exodus assume he was the pharaoh of Moses’ time.
Thus, Joseph’s Machiavellian usurpation of land and livestock, and the centralization of ownership in the Egyptian monarchy, was instrumental in the greatness of ancient Egypt. For Joseph’s concentration of riches in the monarchy, uniting an unstable melange of squabbling and fighting tribes into a stable central figure, created a superior form of government. We think of absolute monarchies as archaic, but at the time, they were a huge advance in civilization.
by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, c. 1874