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Daily Devotion for August 21, 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.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
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.
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.)
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul, "I am your salvation."
Acts 24:22-27 (ESV)
Paul Kept in Custody
But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you." At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul.
So he sent for him often and conversed with him. When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
Notes on the Scripture
Felix was an interesting character in his own right. He had been a Greek slave of the Emperor Claudius (or possibly Claudius' wife) and might have been descended from Greek kings. He was freed and rose quickly in status and wealth; unfortunately, his rise was fueled by corruption and his lack of scruples as much as by intelligence. He was not a well-regarded governor. He seemed better at acquiring power than exercising it.
His treatment of Paul shows his character. Although he is not gratuitously cruel to Paul — he does not convict him falsely and allows him some freedom and comforts while in custody — neither does he find Paul innocent of the charges and set him free, as the evidence would demand. Instead, he waits for a bribe; and not getting one, he lets Paul rot for two years, so as not to upset Ananais and the Sanhedrin without receiving a tangible reward.
The account of Felix's private audience with Paul is amusing. Paul tells Felix about salvation through Christ and the hell that awaits those who do not repent. Felix neither accepts nor rejects Paul's doctrine. Instead, he "becomes alarmed" at the thought that God's judgment awaits his conduct, for he is too attached to his corruption to repent. Like any hypocrite, Felix is more upset with someone exposing his wickedness than about the wickedness itself.
After a while, though, his curiosity and intelligence begin to show. Like Pontius Pilate with Jesus, Felix is fascinated by Paul. Pilate and Felix actually resemble a great many people today, those who put one toe into Christianity and perhaps even attend church on occasion, but simply cannot bear to give up their attachment to the visible world, and so are lost.
After the events of this passage, Felix was recalled to Rome to stand trial for corruption He was saved by the Emperor's intervention, but his public career was finished.