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Daily Devotion for September 8, 2010
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 God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns 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.
Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever;
The Founding of the Church of Phillipi
With Paul and Silas, we came to Philippi in Macedonia, a Roman colony, and, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, "These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation." She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, "These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe."
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.[continued tomorrow]
Notes on the Scripture
As we now know, an important early church will be founded in the Roman colony of Philippi, because the Bible contains letters (or "epistles") that Paul would write to them later on. But as usual, our boys arrived with some flair. Almost immediately upon entering the city, Paul casts a spirit out of a slave girl who is, in essence, a witch; she is able to see future events, and her masters make a great deal of money from this. So casting out the spirit amounted to theft or destruction of a valuable piece of property; she was not worth nearly as much.
One odd thing about this event is that the spirit cannot be entirely evil. Even though the woman calls the disciples "slaves" to God, she does proclaim the gospel.
At any rate, they are no more popular in Philippi than in most places they visit. They get attacked by a mob and are arrested and beaten (probably mostly because they were causing a disturbance -- the Romans were not generally opposed to other people following their own religions). They are then thrown into the most secure part of the jail and shackled, so that there was no chance they would get out and cause another riot.