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Daily Devotion for June 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
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory for ever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son. May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done.
All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.
~Jim Elliot (a Christian missionary who lost his life spreading the Word to a tribe of headhunters.)
Acts 10:27-35 (NKJV)
Preaching to Cornelius' Household
And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?"
So Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter.
He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.' So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come.
Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God."
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him."
Notes on the Scripture
Peter comes to understand his vision with alacrity. God's demand that he eat unclean animals had little to do with his diet. Rather, it was a command that he keep company with all sorts of people, Jew and Gentile, Judean and foreigner, in every part of the world.
Christ himself taught this lesson; he was criticized for eating with Gentiles and converted Samaritans. But for the devout Jews from which Christianity took its early members, this is a difficult lesson to accept. They were the most insular race conceivable. From the time they could speak, they have been trained that to enter the house of a non-Jew, to eat a meal with him, to have anything to do with him other than some basic commercial and political dealings, was an affront to God.
People who have been strictly and consistently taught something throughout their childhood generally have terrible difficulty overcoming it. If you were told as a child that the number 13 was unlucky, you might find yourself wincing every time you see it, even though as an adult you know such superstitions are ridiculous. Think about how many of your personal characteristics come from your childhood teaching, even things you might be better off questioning.
So we must respect the early Jewish disciples as they venture into the terrifying world of Gentiles and foreigners. At this point, the word of Christ has been spread almost entirely to Jews. Philip has gone to Samaria, and some have gone to Damascus, but almost all of the teaching has occurred among Jews in Jewish regions of the middle east.
But now, God has given Peter a direct order: the day has arrived when the word and salvation of Jesus Christ should be spread to all nations and people.