Daily Devotion for July 9, 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.
A beautiful worship video from Shelly Nirider.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Prayer to Look Beyond Appearances
Heavenly Father, I confess that in my life, I have been more attentive to someone who was beautiful and ignored another who was not. I have judged people by the way they look, by how old they are, by how they are dressed; and yet I know, in my heart, that all souls are beautiful to you and that you have commanded us to love one another, not through the sinful eye of our body and our emotions, but through the perfect eye of your Spirit.
Help me, I pray, to see other people as you see them, as my fellow souls struggling to find you. Let me not be deceived by appearance; let me not be misled by my prejudice. Let me not compare the outside of other people to the inside of myself, nor believe that the circumstances of my birth define a standard that others are supposed to meet. Let me see my own imperfection and not that of my fellow man. This I pray,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, 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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse indicates that Jesus emptied Himself of divinity, until His death on the cross?
Proverbs 11:20-21 (NKJV)
Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord,
But the blameless in their ways are His delight.
Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished;
But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.
Acts 24:10-21 (ESV)
Paul’s Defense to Felix
nd when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia—they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”
Notes on the Scripture
Paul here makes his defense before the Roman governor Felix, in the capital of Roman Judea (Caesarea). Paul has been accused of trying to profane the high temple and of stirring up Jews to riot throughout the empire as the leader of the “Nazarene sect.”
Paul is wholly innocent of trying to profane the temple. In fact, while he was in Jerusalem, he spent much of his time at the temple performing a traditional Jewish purification ritual; and, uncharacteristically, he did not preach.
As to the second charge, Paul does not even claim to be innocent. None of the Jews from “Asia” (the area around Ephesus in northwestern Anatolia), however, have come to Caesarea to testify. There are no witnesses against him. His defense is, essentially, that he is innocent until proven guilty, and they have no proof.
The one thing that they can prove is that he caused a disruption in the Sanhedrin itself. During his trial in the Sanhedrin, he divided the council against itself, by claiming he was being persecuted for preaching resurrection of the dead. This inflamed the Pharisee council members (who believe in resurrection of the dead and spirits) against the Sadducees (who do not).
But it is impossible for the governor, Felix, to condemn Paul on this point. The Pharisees are a powerful Jewish sect, perhaps the most powerful in Judea; to find a man guilty of wrongdoing, for preaching the Pharisee doctrine of resurrection, would invite open and widespread rebellion against Rome.
Note that Christ is not mentioned. If Ananais had charged Paul with preaching the Gospel, Paul would be convicted, for he would neither deny it nor require them to prove it. But since Ananais has not mentioned it, Paul holds his tongue for once. He has shown that he is willing to die in the name of Christ; but he is not going to insist on it!