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Daily Devotion for August 15, 2011


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Scripture

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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.




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,

Amen.

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love. and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.

Amen.

Benediction

May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.

Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.

Amen.


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.

(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)

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Psalm 34:8

O taste and see how gracious the Lord is:

Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.


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Acts 22:30, 23:1-5 (NKJV)

Paul Before the Sanhedrin [1]

The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.

Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?" And those who stood by said, "Do you revile God's high priest?"

Then Paul said, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"

Notes on the Scripture

We meet a new and particularly nasty character here, High Priest Ananais ben Nebedeus, who overcame the nearly dynastic line of Annas to become high priest from 46-59 A.D. It is unfortunate that he has the same name as the great Ananais of Damascus, the man who baptized Paul (and the person usually meant when the simple name "Ananais" is used).

Ananais (son of Nebedeus) was a corrupt, greedy and hypocritical man, an unscrupulous politician who held his post by collaborating with the Romans. He was well-known for his brutality; so when he has a guard hit Paul in the mouth, for nothing more than claiming to live in good conscience before God, it would not have surprised anyone.

Paul calls him a "whitewashed wall". It is an odd-sounding insult to us, but consider: when we talk about somebody in power covering up wrongdoing, we call it a "whitewash". This is just how Paul means it. Ananais is an entire wall of whitewash, a person completely covered in hypocrisy.

Paul retracts his insult, not because it is untrue, but because the Bible forbids it, e.g. Exodus 22:28.

Every religion, at some point in its history, seems to have encountered men like Ananais (son of Nebedus): dynamic men of little actual faith or integrity, but having enormous political intelligence, who use their talents to become a religious leader for the sole purpose of gaining power and wealth. It is the way of this world.

Ananais did not get away with his hypocrisy forever. In 52 A.D., the governor of Syria had him arrested and sent to Rome for brutality, but Emperor Claudius acquitted him. He returned to Jerusalem, but was eventually hunted down and murdered by Jewish nationalists.




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