Daily Devotion for July 25, 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
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Peace
We thank You, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. We appeal to You to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war. Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of You and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For You are our peace and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
We pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. We pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
Lord our God, remember and have mercy on our brothers and sisters who are involved in every civil conflict. Remove from their midst all hostility, confusion and hatred. Lead everyone along the path of reconciliation and peace, we pray You, hear us and have mercy on us.
Let all believers turn aside from violence and do what makes for peace. By the strength of your mighty arm save your people and your Holy Church from all evil oppression; hear the supplications of all who call to You in sorrow and affliction, day and night. Merciful God, let their lives not be lost, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Paul's Third Journey
Acts 19:11-12 (NKJV)
Paul Works Miracles in Ephesus
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
Notes on the Scripture
The short verse today describes healing by Paul in Ephesus, so extreme that his handkerchief would heal the sick; we have seen similar phenomena earlier, specifically, people coming to Jerusalem and being healed by Saint Peter's shadow in Acts 5:12-16. This creates difficult issues for the 20th century Christian. Specifically, if Peter and Paul were able to heal the sick so readily, why do Christians today often remain ill and sometimes die of such illnesses, despite all prayers for healing?
There are countless questions one might ask, and countless answers one might give. But the simplest answer is: nobody knows. We grow accustomed to thinking that our brains can grasp truth; it is the assumption of most scientists that the human mind can understand everything. But it cannot. Our minds and our concept of knowledge are limited.
Christ came to earth to tell us what we need to know in order to satisfy God and find eternal salvation. He did not tell us everything that God knows or everything that God plans. He came as a human, to tell us what little we are able to grasp as humans. Imagine an adult attempting to explain something to a small child. The adult will use baby talk and try to simplify his explanation to a level that a child can understand.
Just so, we are God's children, and He has told us the truth in terms we can understand. But we cannot really know the mind of God. We aren't smart enough.
Children fasten their seat belts, get shots from the doctor, don't play with fire or guns, and don't talk to strangers, even though they only partly understand why; their reward is safety, health, and life. They have faith in their parents. God's children follow His rules, even though we do not and cannot fully understand everything. We trust that God does understand everything and loves us enough to tell us what to do, so as to find life.
Nobody said this more eloquently than Paul himself in 1 Corinthians 13: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.".