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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for July 17, 2017

<i>Jesus the Shepherd</i>, by James Tissot, ca. 1886.
Jesus the Shepherd (detail), by James Tissot, ca. 1886.



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Lord's Prayer

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.


Good Morning Heavenly Father

Good Morning Heavenly Father, and thank You for the glory of the sun. And thank You for the health I have to get my duty done. I shall devote the hours of this golden day to You, by honoring Your Holy Name in everything I do. I will pursue my daily art without complaint or fear and spend my every effort to be friendly and sincere. I know there have been many days that I have whiled away. But this is one that I will try, to make Your special day. And so once more, Good Morning Heavenly Father. And please depend on me because I want to honor You for all eternity.


To Focus on God

I  am so sorry, Lord, that I let the worries of the day push ahead of you in my mind. Please help me to keep your Holy Spirit in the forefront of my thoughts, throughout the day.


To Help Others

Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am - a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.


Parting Prayer

Oh Lord as I face creation
Let me see with eyes made clear
By Your promise of salvation,
Never to return to fear.


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.

endless knot


Lord, I don’t ask for a faith that would move yonder mountain. I can take enough dynamite and move it if it needs movin’. I pray, Lord, for enough faith to move me.

~ Norman Allen

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 37:1-2 (ESV)

Introduction to Joseph

Jacob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.

These are the generations of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives.

Notes on the Scripture

[NOTE: We have omitted Genesis 36, which consists entirely of the descendants of Esau. Have a quick look at it, to fix the Edomites in your mind, as they will still be around in the time of Christ. Remember, Herod the Great was a descendant of Esau!]


ot many of us are too terribly clear about Joseph. We might remember taking out our crayons in Sunday school, to draw a “coat of many colors”, or remember that he went to Egypt for a while. It’s a good story, though, and important in understanding the continuum of Hebrew history. For where Exodus is the story of how Moses brought the Jews out of Egypt, Joseph is the story of how they came to be there.

The Pentateuch is one of very few good narrative histories that exists of events before 1500 B.C., and the only one about the lower Middle East. While secular scholars sometimes spend their lives trying to prove that it is fictional, or “mythical,” I don’t believe them. There are no hard facts to disprove anything in it. The most common attack is that, say, there is no other record or evidence of such-and-such a town where Abraham is said to have lived; and yet, every once in a while, archaeologists will “discover” a site that shows that the skeptics were wrong, and the Bible is right.

Genesis and Exodus are unique; they were preserved and handed down as a living part of Hebrew culture, because the Hebrews themselves were unique. They were chosen by God to receive His word and bring it to us. There are parts of Genesis that archaeologists now admit are true, which appear in no other contemporary writing.

Jacob was also known as “Israel,” and it is he for whom Israel is named. He was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, and was the third and final patriarch of the Hebrews. He had twelve sons — of whom Joseph is one — who became the patriarchs of twelve great tribes, the Tribes of Israel.

So the story of Joseph is the story of one of Jacob/Israel’s twelve sons. It is the point where God’s promise to Abraham begins to be fulfilled, for the great nation that Abraham was to found begins to grow in size and organization. It is the transition between the history of Abraham and the history of Moses.

Keeping track of Jacob’s wives is tricky. To recap: He was supposed to marry Leah, but loved her sister, Rachel. Jacob eventually took both of them as wives. Then, Rachel and Leah found additional concubines for Jacob to increase the size of the family: Bilhah and Zilpah. Their children were considered fully legitimate, so the twelve tribes of Israel had four mothers.

But Rachel, the wife of Jacob’s heart, had only two of the twelve sons, Joseph and Benjamin; and this will come to play an important part of our story.

Devotional painting of Joseph, from the Bible
Joseph the Shepherd, by the famous Jewish Primitivist, Marc Chagall, c. 1931.

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