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Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Devotion for September 22, 2013

<i>Conversion of Saul (undergoing restoration)</i>, Michelangelo ca. 1545
Conversion of Saul (undergoing restoration), Michelangelo ca. 1545, fresco at the Vatican. The original is huge: over 20 feet high and wide.



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lessons and scripture

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.


Prayer for Purity of Worship

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,



Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.

Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.


For the Clergy and All Who Minister in Christ’s Name

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, I humbly pray, to all who are called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of the church of all faithful people, now and until the end of days.



Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

paul stained glass window
Peter and Paul.

Psalm 103:1-5, 20-22 (NKJV)

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Blue Latin Cross

Acts 14:8-18 (NIV)

Paul and Barnabas are Worshipped as Gods

In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And the man sprang up and began to walk.

When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice.

When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, "Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good — giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy."

Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

Notes on the Scripture

Lystra was a city in central Anatolia, which is the mainland of Turkey today. It was part of the Roman colony called Lycaonia and had adopted the Greek gods. It was situated on a high trade road, so both Lystra and Lycaonia were fairly large and important. (Today, a village called "Klistra" sits on the ruins, in a rural agricultural area.)

Zeus was, of course, the king of the Greek gods. Hermes was one of the most important gods. Known better by his Roman name, Apollo, he was the messenger of the gods, and is usually depicted with wings on his feet. He was the god of orators (and, perhaps fancy overpriced Parisian silk scarfs?).

Although the passage is serious, one cannot help but be amused a bit. Imagine the expression on Paul's face when people pour out to worship him and Barnabas as gods incarnate, trying to sacrifice to them. To make matters even funnier, it is Barnabas whom they believe to be Zeus, relegating Paul (who can sometimes seem a tad pompous) to secondary status.

Of course, in reality they were horrified, and immediately tore their clothing, a traditional Jewish act to show humility. Paul then preached the good news, how God had allowed the non-Hebrew nations to follow their own ways in the past — but not without providing for them; but now, they could become members of the living God, through the life and passion of Christ.

endless knot

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Proverbs 3:5 (ESV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;

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