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Daily Devotion for March 18, 2012
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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" takes us to Boe Chapel (Lutheran) at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
Prayer for the Morning
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,
Prayer of Thanks
O Thou whose bounty fills my cup, With every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, The bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road, And for the riverside; For all Thy goodness hath bestowed, And all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown, And for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown And for the present cross.
I thank Thee for both wings of love Which stirred my worldly nest; And for the stormy clouds which drove Me, trembling, to Thy breast.
I bless Thee for the glad increase, And for the waning joy; And for this strange, this settled peace Which nothing can destroy.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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.
Psalm 90:10, 12
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Genesis 25:19-23 (NIV)
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau Born
This is the account of the family line of Abraham's son Isaac.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the Lord.
The Lord said to her,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."
Notes on the Scripture
If you got the sense that Abraham was not really tied closely to the Mesopotamian culture of the place where he was born, or wondered why someone from a highly civilized area would go wandering about the chaotic wilderness of Canaan, today's passage gives a big hint. Bethuel, Abraham's nephew, is called an "Aramean".
Trying not to make this too confusing, there were three great early cultures in Mesopotamia: Sumerians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. But apparently, Abraham's family was not from one of these cultures. Instead, they were from a nation whose members did not build great cities and armies, but tended to wander around grazing their flocks wherever there was water, and getting along with the great powers wherever they went. We certainly see this in Abraham, who left the city of Ur and lived in Canaan, then in Egypt, then among Philistines near Beersheba, then among Hittites in Hebron.
But the oddest thing about this nation of nomads was that their language outlived all of the great cultures of those thousands of years before Christ. In fact, Christ himself spoke Aramaic, the language of the Arameans, for it became the common language of the entire Middle East.
Rebekah gets a prophecy about her pregnancy. She is carrying twins, and what's more, they are fighting with each other while still in the womb. This does not bode well for the relationship between the brothers.
The prophecy confirms that there is trouble to come. Both will be the patriarchs of great nations, but these nations and the brothers will be separated. Indeed, we learn that their lives will be parallel to the lives of Isaac and Ishmael, for the younger shall be the greater.