Daily Devotion for May 15, 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.
Beautiful Kyrie Eleison by Gounod, from his St. Cecelia Mass.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy, above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle; not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. I pray that I manage my own family well and keep any children I may have charge of under control, acting with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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 He casts away the desire of the wicked.
Acts 4:23-31 (CEB)
The Aftermath of Peter and John's Arrest
After their release, Peter and John returned to the brothers and sisters and reported everything the chief priests and elders had said. They listened, then lifted their voices in unison to God,
"Master, you are the one who created the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. You are the one who spoke by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth took their stand
and the rulers gathered together as one
against the Lord and against his Christ.
Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with Gentiles and Israelites, did gather in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and plan had already determined would happen.
Now, Lord, take note of their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with complete confidence. Stretch out your hand to bring healing and enable signs and wonders to be performed through the name of Jesus, your holy servant."
After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with confidence.
Notes on the Scripture
Peter and John have just been threatened by the Sanhedrin, in a trial that could have sentenced them to death; they were told not to preach the word of Christ, with the implication that they might be executed, as Jesus himself had been.
They interpret the threat in the light of prophecy, a very specific one made in Psalm 2 It is commonly understood that the “nations” or “Gentiles” refer to non-Jewish nations, while the “peoples” refer to the Jews themselves. The psalm predicts exactly what is beginning to happen: the authorities have taken a stand against the Messiah. In the future, this opposition will spread from Judea throughout the earth, and Christians will be martyred in every land for their beliefs.
They pray for the fortitude to speak Christ's word with confidence; not confidence that they will be spared, because the psalm states that the nations will stand against them. And their prayer is answered. They are given heart, through the Holy Spirit, to spread Christ's word against all opposition, without fear.
Their fearlessness is not freedom from fear of harm from other men; they know they will be scorned, reviled, imprisoned, and perhaps even killed. Rather, their courage comes from the certainty that their sacrifice and work is God's will. Their punishments will be rewarded for all eternity, and have already been rewarded by the grace of Christ. And unlike those who do not hear the word and follow Christ, they will be granted perfect peace and eternal life in God's presence.