Daily Devotion for June 7, 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 (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant us to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
And the desire of the righteous will be granted.
Acts 9:19-23 (ESV)
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Damascus
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."
And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?" But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
Notes on the Scripture
In modern terms, Saul has "done a 180". He was the Sanhedrin's eager hit man, sent to round up everyone in Damascus who had become a follower of Jesus. But no sooner than he appears to the public in Damascus, he begins to preach the word of Christ himself! Instead of arresting the Christians, he tries to convince the non-Christians that Jesus was the Messiah.
The anti-Christian Jews who were expecting Saul's arrival are naturally upset that the policeman has sided with the criminals, to the point that he is encouraging others to join them. Even worse, he becomes the strongest voice for Christ in the city. They determine to kill him as he leaves Damascus. But in one of many escapes we see in Acts, Saul bypasses the gates of the city by having his allies lower him over the wall in a basket.
From his description and deeds, Acts presents Saul (later Paul) as a man gifted by nature. He is a natural leader, a man who has power to persuade others, and a man of enormous energy, intelligence and resourcefulness. The Sanhedrin had made him their man in the field in recognition of his great abilities; but now, the tide has turned. Their brilliant young champion has turned his coat, and the Christians will find him even more useful than the Jewish leadership.