Daily Devotion for October 6, 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.
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.
Gospel of Matthew 11:2-10
Christ Teaches About John the Baptist 
When John, in prison, heard about the works of Christ, he sent his disciples to ask, "Are you he who comes, or are we looking for another?"
Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John the things you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings preached to them. And blessed is he who finds no stumbling in me."
After John's disciples went on their way, Jesus spoke to the multitudes concerning John:
"What did you travel out into the wilderness to see? A reed trembling in the wind?"What did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? People who wear soft clothes are in king's houses."
"Why did you go out there? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, about whom it is written:
'Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way before thee.' "
King James Version
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
Notes on the Lesson
In the gospel text, Christ identifies John the Baptist as the messenger foretold by Malachi. Apparently there were people who were unhappy with John's scruffy appearance and stern message. Christ sets them straight with rhetorical questions; the style of address is similar to a pedagogical style associated with Socrates and Plato, often referred to as the "Socratic method". (Modern law schools often let on that they use "the Socratic method", although it is more frequently claimed than actually used in the classroom.)
The second verse from Malachi is included for no reason except to familiarize the reader with a passage used in Handel's Messiah; the alto solo But Who May Abide . . . is one of the excerpts most frequently performed.
There is a very good sermon on the passage from Malachi, available online at a site called Worship Map.