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Daily Devotion for July 8, 2019
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 Live for God's Glory
O God, lover of Your people, help me this day to live entirely to Your glory. Let me be deaf to unmerited criticism and the praise of men. Nothing can hurt my new-born inner self, it cannot be smitten or die; nothing can mar the dominion of Your Spirit within me; it is enough to have Your approval and that of my conscience.
Keep me humble, dependent, supremely joyful, as calm and quiet as a dependent child, yet earnest and active. I wish not so much to do as to be, and I long to be like Jesus; if You make me right, I shall be right; Lord, I belong to You, make me worthy of Yourself.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” (~ Soren Kierkegaard)
Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.
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.
Psalm 42:11 (NKJV)
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Acts 24:1-9 (ESV)
Felix Hears the Charges Against Paul, at Caesarea
nd after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:
“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.
For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.”
The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.
Notes on the Scripture
Having failed in their plot to murder Paul in Jerusalem, Ananais and his toadies must travel to Caesarea; rather than sitting as the judges in the case, they have been reduced to petitioners before the Roman court. It is not clear why Tertullus presents the case rather than Ananais. Perhaps Ananais is too proud to appear as a petitioner before another court, acknowledging his subordination to Felix. Perhaps Tertullus is well-spoken, or can speak in Latin, or understands the Roman laws. Perhaps Tertullus knows Felix.
At any rate, Tertullus presents a well-conceived argument. He speaks of the beneficial peace in Judea and then paints Paul as a person who would destroy that peace. The first accusation he makes is that Paul stirs up riots among Jews, not only in Judea but “in all the world,” i.e. throughout the Roman empire.
This is the charge that will get Rome’s full attention. The Jews chafed under Roman rule. (And, in fact, eight years later, the Jews would start a full-fledged rebellion, the First Jewish-Roman War, that would last for 7 years.) Felix’s first order of business, as governor of Judea, is to prevent riots which might lead to rebellion.
Tertullus’ second accusation, presented more as a matter of explanation, was that Paul is a leader of the heretical Nazarene Sect, i.e. Christianity. This was of enormous importance to the Sanhedrin. It had some importance to Felix, also, since he wanted to curry favor with whichever sect held power over the Jews. But it was not of primary importance; if Felix had become convinced that the Nazarene sect was more powerful than the Sadducees and Pharisees, he would have switched sides in a heartbeat.
The most important motive to the Jews, however, is not even presented to the Roman court. Paul had avoided condemnation in the Sanhedrin by identifying his beliefs with those of the Pharisees; so Ananais has a hidden agenda to diminish Pharisee influence, or at least bypass it.