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Sunday, July 5, 2020

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Daily Devotion for July 10, 2019


<i>Paul Before Felix</i>, illustration by William Hogarth, ca. 1735.
Paul Before Felix, illustration by William Hogarth, ca. 1735. Hogarth was a satirist, famous for depicting the depravity of London’s citizenry, rich and poor alike. His style spills over into this unflattering illustration of Felix and his courtiers.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.

The angelic voice of a remarkable little girl, singing the praise of another remarkable young girl.




For the Day Ahead

Oh Lord God, I come to you in the morning, full of hope that the day to come might be filled with joy and energy. Grant that I may do my work with a light and happy heart; and if there are tasks that I do not look forward to, or even dread, let me undertake them with courage and resolve. For this day could be perfect, if I can only live it in You and with You and for You.

Mosaic of Jesus Christ, from Ravenna, Italy

Where I face frustration today, let me handle it with acceptance and faith that the outcome is in Your hands. Lead me away from anger or judgment of other people. Let me tend to my own garden instead of looking over the fence. If my neighbor's yard is filled with weeds, help me not to criticize, and keep me from envy of those whose tree bears more fruit.

And let everything I attempt be filled with the knowledge and guidance of Your Holy Spirit. I pray that the Spirit will be with me at every moment, and that I will always be aware of Him, and live every moment of this day in Your presence. In Christ’s name, I pray,

Amen.

Prayer for Forgiveness

Lord, I have betrayed you by following my own way; I have denied you by fearing to follow yours; and I have mocked you by not taking your death seriously. I sometimes feel like I am lost. Let your forgiveness find me. Hold me in your strong arms and give me your new life. Live in me and with me this day, that I may by your power find forgiveness and be made ever anew, reborn from above, living fully in your Spirit every minute. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

[What words or thoughts of anger did I have or use yesterday?]


Dedication

O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,

Amen.


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.



endless knot

Psalm 43:1-4 (NKJV)

Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.

Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.


Blue Latin Cross

Acts 24:22-27 (ESV)

Paul Kept in Custody
B

ut Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul.

So he sent for him often and conversed with him. When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.


Notes on the Scripture

Felix was an interesting character in his own right. He had been a Greek slave of the Emperor Claudius (or possibly Claudius’ wife) and might have been descended from Greek kings. He was freed and rose quickly in status and wealth; unfortunately, his rise was fueled by corruption and his lack of scruples as much as by intelligence. He was not a well-regarded governor. He seemed better at acquiring power than exercising it.

His treatment of Paul shows his character. Although he is not gratuitously cruel to Paul — he does not convict him falsely and allows him some freedom and comforts while in custody — neither does he find Paul innocent of the charges and set him free, as the evidence would demand. Instead, he waits for a bribe; and not getting one, he lets Paul rot for two years, so as not to upset Ananais and the Sanhedrin without receiving a tangible reward.

The account of Felix’s private audience with Paul is amusing. Paul tells Felix about salvation through Christ and the hell that awaits those who do not repent. Felix neither accepts nor rejects Paul’s doctrine. Instead, he “becomes alarmed” at the thought that God’s judgment awaits his conduct, for he is too attached to his corruption to repent. Like any hypocrite, Felix is more upset with someone exposing his wickedness than about the wickedness itself.

After a while, though, his curiosity and intelligence begin to show. Like Pontius Pilate with Jesus, Felix is fascinated by Paul. Pilate and Felix actually resemble a great many people today, those who put one toe into Christianity and perhaps even attend church on occasion, but simply cannot bear to give up their attachment to the visible world, and so are lost.

After the events of this passage, Felix was recalled to Rome to stand trial for corruption He was saved by the Emperor’s intervention, but his public career was finished.



<i>The Apostle Paul</i> by Rembrandt von Rijn, ca. 1633.</div>
The Apostle Paul by Rembrandt von Rijn, ca. 1633.

Daily Inspiration

“Babbling Like Gentiles”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Deuteronomy 10:17-19: The Lord your God . . . loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.



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