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Daily Devotion for December 14, 2009
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
Paul in Rome
My dear friends, I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped to spread the good news. The Roman guards and all the others know that I am here in jail because I serve Christ.
Now most of the Lord's followers have become brave and are fearlessly telling the message. Some are preaching about Christ because they are jealous and envious of us. Others are preaching because they want to help. They love Christ and know that I am here to defend the good news about him.
But the ones who are jealous of us are not sincere. They just want to cause trouble for me while I am in jail. But that doesn't matter. All that matters is that people are telling about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. That is what makes me glad.
I will keep on being glad, because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe. I honestly expect and hope that I will never do anything to be ashamed of. Whether I live or die, I always want to be as brave as I am now and bring honor to Christ.
Comment on the Scripture
Paul's spirits are raised because he knows that his imprisonment has helped spread Christ's word. Other Christians, instead of being cowed by it, have become braver and tell a hostile world the good news fearlessly. Even "agent provocateurs", who preach the Gospel hoping to upset the authorities further and thus make Paul's punishment more severe, make him happy: they are unwittingly furthering the spread of Christianity.
Most of us struggle with our work and testimony about our belief, at some level, and it can be discouraging. How uplifting to hear Paul, in prison and uncertain of his future, so full of spirit and determination. The secular world can be so far from God's work today, with the increasingly wide spread of pornography, sexual activity at younger ages, dislike and even hatred among people within the country and in attitudes towards other countries and cultures — and receiving the same hostility from neighbors and people in foreign countries alike.
But we know, in our hearts, that hatred and hostility are the anathema to Christ's message. We must keep faith that telling his Word, telling people the true message of Christ's gospel and salvation, is the work of God and is done to His glory.