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Daily Devotion for August 10, 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.
The first movement of Vivaldi's great Gloria. Glory be to God on high.
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
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. 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.
And your thoughts will be established.
1 Corinthians 9:1-6 (JBP)
Paul Discusses His Ministry 
Is there any doubt that I am a genuine messenger, any doubt that I am a free man? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Are not you yourselves samples of my work for the Lord?
Even if other people should refuse to recognize my divine commission, yet to you at any rate I shall always be a true messenger, for you are a living proof of God’s call to me. This is my real ground of defense to those who cross-examine me.
Aren’t we allowed to eat and drink? May we not travel with a Christian wife like the other messengers, like other Christian brothers, and like Cephas? Are Barnabas and I the only ones not allowed to leave their ordinary work to give time to the ministry?
Notes on the Scripture
You will remember, from Chapter 1, the primary impetus for the epistle: The great sectarian conflicts that arose soon after the founding the church in Corinth. People were beginning to form into insular groups, and would name themselves as followers of a teacher — e.g. “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas” (1 Corinthians 1:11-12) rather than Christ Himself. As part of this, the apostle was exposed to the accusations of false teachers, who asserted that he carried on his evangelization and his labors from interested motives, and that he took the property of Christians, availing himself of their devotedness.
Chapter 9 is devoted to Paul's defense of his own ministry. It seems a bit rough, because it does involve some self-promotion, following close on the heels of Paul's admonition against boasting. But when we understand that it was a defense to serious accusations against him, it becomes easier to read, because everyone surely has a right to defend himself against falsehood and slander.
Paul first credits himself as someone who had seen Christ with his own eyes. He does omit the fact that he was in the service of the high priest when Christ was tried and was complicit in the murder of Stephen. But if we are to credit the Bible, Paul was commissioned directly by Christ on the road to Damascus, at the time of his conversion. (Acts 9:3–9)
Paul then points out that he started the church at Corinth. This was during a journey full of hardship and danger, and he is right to claim this as proof of his sincerity. "By their works, you shall know them," and Paul's work in Corinth is beyond criticism.
The final paragraph seems to respond to some rather petty accusations. Paul must travel and, although he spent periods where he would stop to make some money as a tentmaker, he often accepted hospitality in towns where he preached. Someone, obviously, had twisted this into him being a leech. Also, someone in his entourage must have been married, for although Paul is single, he defends those who travel with a spouse. The mention of Cephas (Peter) is odd, for Peter also was chaste; but like Paul, he must have had wives in his retinue.