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Daily Devotion for May 19, 2014
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 to Bear Witness Before the World
Let all who take refuge in you rejoice, O Lord. Let us ever sing for joy. Let those who confess your name raise up their voice, filling the air with glorious noise. Spread your protection over us, mighty God, that we who love your name may exault you before all the people of the earth. Let the quiet and the shy find their courage so that they may sing and shout to the sky, “There is one great God who rules over us all, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is His only Son”.
May I be blessed to help the blind see your glory and the deaf hear your praise, lest they surely die. For they must be told: Every heart will find righteousness and eternal life in the holy name of Christ, and nowhere else. Make me your trumpet, make me your lighthouse; let me proclaim to the very end of the earth, that Christ is King!
[Let me never forget to rejoice in my salvation.]
For Those Who Suffer
God of time and of eternity, in your hands you hold the souls of the righteous, and in your heart there is room for all people; shine forth upon all who are tried in the furnace of suffering and illness, and especially on those for whom I pray today; in your grace and mercy may we know that you watch over us; bring us at the last to abide with you in love; I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever 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.
Joy of friendships be yours
Wealth of memories be yours
Fruit of endevor be yours
Hope of heaven be yours
Peace of God be yours.
Acts 9:3-6, 10-14 (ESV)
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
* * *
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Notes on the Scripture
Overview of the New Testament: The Epistles
Introduction: The Authority of Paul
Note from the Editor: I thought, instead of taking up another book right away, we might do a short survey of the New Testament. I think it will be rewarding; stepping back to look at the entire work, as a whole. It should fill in some gaps in our knowledge and give us a broader context within which to read specific books and verses.
Paul wrote more of the New Testament than any other author, about one-quarter of it by volume. Along with Peter, he became the most important person to the foundation and spread of Christianity (excepting Christ himself) and one of the most influential people in the history of the world.
When people attack the Bible because they don't like what it says, one common notion goes something like this: “I have great respect for Jesus, and perhaps he was a divine figure, but all that stuff from Paul was just the personal ideas of an authoritarian/paternalistic/reactionary man, who came along after Jesus' death and co-opted Jesus' life to his personal philosophy.”
Such statements show a complete lack of understanding of God's Word, for Paul's authority came from Christ himself and was attested by Peter.
God has revealed himself to us in three equally important persons: the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Christ could not reveal God's will for us fully until He had been crucified, for only by his death could we be fully sanctified in the forgiveness of our sins, and only when we are sanctified can we know God fully. In other words, we could not understand God's will for us until after Jesus' death and ascension. We know this from Christ's own words:
But if we could not understand Christ fully until He was gone, who is left to teach us? How does the Holy Spirit, who is not corporeal, speak to us? It is, primarily, through Paul. One might call Paul “the Apostle of the Holy Spirit”, the voice of God to us after Christ ascended to heaven.
To deny the power and sanctity of the Holy Spirit is to deny God. To deny the Holy Spirit is, in fact, the only sin that cannot be forgiven: “[W]hoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
The Epistles are not an afterthought of the Gospels. They are the record and explanation of the Third Person of God, spoken by God through his inspiration of his apostles; and in relation to the Spirit, Paul stands first among them. Paul was by no means divine, but his words were, and are. The authority and importance of the Epistles are equal to that of the Gospels, and the authority of Paul to deliver God's word to us is unquestionable.