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Daily Devotion for August 22, 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
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
For our restful sleep at night,
For the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
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.)
Acts 25:1-7 (ESV)
Festus Hears Charges Against Paul
Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem — because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.
Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. "So," said he, "let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him."
After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.
When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove.
Notes on the Scripture
Festus is Porcius Festus, the new governor (procurator) of Galilee and Judea. When he arrives, Paul has been under arrest in Caesarea for over two years; Festus' predecessor (Felix) handled the difficult situation by simply doing nothing. The Jewish authorities in the Sanhedrin were content as long as Paul was held in prison, and Felix would not find him innocent without a bribe. On the other hand, there was no evidence of Paul's guilt, and Felix would not find him guilty.
Festus is thus faced with the exact same situation as Felix had been. The Jews want Paul transferred to Jerusalem, so that they can murder him. And once again, a trial is held just as it had been two years before.
Festus was, by all accounts, a fair-minded and honest governor, in stark contrast to his predecessor, but he did not have Felix's experience and knowledge. He especially did not have Felix's deep knowledge of Judaism; Felix, after all, was married to a Jew. And also, the Sanhedrin had certainly had a part in Felix's recall to Rome, so Festus would not have wanted to offend them unnecessarily.
The Book of Acts skips over the details of the charges against Paul, Paul's defense, and the Jewish authorities involved. (Ananais had, by this time, been replaced as high priest.) But we will find out more detail later in Chapter 25, when Festus discusses the case with Agrippa (the current Jewish king) and his sister Bernice.