Daily Devotion for October 4, 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
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew 10:28-33
Christ Instructs His Apostles 
Do not be not afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall on the ground without your Father. The very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not therefore: you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Every one who confesses me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Comment on the Scripture
Admitting to a Belief in Christ
Here, for the first time, Christ gently implies that the apostles may be called upon to give up their lives on earth in God's service. First, he reminds them that God sees and has dominion over the death of even a sparrow; his knowledge is so vast that he knows how many hairs each of them has on his head. He then gives them one of the most fundamental tenets of Christian faith: Those who "confess" him on earth, he will "confess" to God in heaven. They should not fear men, who can kill their body, but God, who can condemn their soul.
It is important to understand that the word "confess" has two similar, but different, meanings in the New Testament. In both senses, it refers to making a true statement about oneself, disregarding the consequences that might come from the truth being known. Usually, it means that one has done something wrong, and "confess" means admitting the wrong; this is how it is generally used in modern English. We say a criminal confesses to a crime.
Today's passage, however, uses a second (broader) meaning of "confess". The person confessing does not necessarily think he has done anything wrong. Just the opposite — A person who confesses a belief in Christ considers that the belief is the greatest good possible for a human being. The confession, in this sense of the word, is simply an acknowlegdement made with total candor and honesty, without any consideration whatsoever of possible adverse consequences.
Even today, professing a belief in Christ can cause difficulties. Although we are not likely to be killed for our belief (unless, perhaps, we live in North Korea or Iran), stating our belief honestly can cause us to be sneered at. Quite a few people in Western countries will look down on you if you admit you are a Christian. They might consider Christians stupid, or deluded, or hypocritical. Embarrassment is a very powerful emotion; but Christ clearly tells us that we must state our belief openly, no matter what other people may think about us or do to us.