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Daily Devotion for May 13, 2011
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.
But righteousness delivers from death.
Acts 4:1-12 (NASB)
Peter and John Arrested
As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening.
But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?"
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Notes on the Scripture
Peter has been openly defying the Sanhedrin. Just months after Jesus was tried and executed for heresy, Peter has begun to preach Jesus' message openly, in public, and right in Jerusalem itself — the heart of the Jewish religious establishment. He has converted 5,000 people. He is practically asking to be arrested and executed.
How far he has come since he denied Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter is completely filled with courage. When Annas and Caiaphas (as well as other high priests) ask him how he has made the lame man whole, Peter gives it to them in spades. He summarizes the very speech he has been making in public to win converts — he goes so far as to accuse, by implication, the high priests of murdering a man sent by God.
And then, he tells them that “there is salvation in no one else.” They, the high priests, have been superseded. Jesus, and his Holy Spirit operating through Peter, have replaced the very priests before whom he stands.
But the climate has changed. Now, Christians number 5,000 in a city that, by modern standards, is quite small. Most estimates run about 30,000 to 50,000 permanent residents. Far from stopping the heresy by executing the leader, this Jesus person has become a real thorn in the Sanhedrin's side.