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Daily Devotion for August 27, 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.
Another old oddity -- Perry Como (who was Catholic) singing the Lord's prayer.
[Tip: If you want to see the music video better, you can click the tiny box in the bottom right-hand corner of the video. This will enlarge the video to fill your screen. To return to normal, just click in the bottom right-hand corner again (or hit the "Esc" button, usually at the top left of a standard computer keyboard).]
Prayer for the Morning
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Now may the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon me, and give me peace, in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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.)
For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
Acts 26:12-23 (ESV)
Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice 
"In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?'
And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentile — to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
Notes on the Scripture
The conversion of Saint Paul is told three times in the Bible. The first time, in Acts 9, is the basic chronological story, told in the third person, simply to acquaint the reader with the facts.
The second and third tellings are first-hand accounts by Paul himself, told by Paul in defense of accusations against him. The second, in Acts 22, was given to the mob in Jerusalem who were rioting against him.
This third account is part of Paul's defense before King Agrippa, no doubt with the Roman governor (Festus) and Agrippa's sister Bernice in attendance. You can see slight differences in this version from the others.
First, Paul emphasizes his obedience in this telling. He was speaking to convince a king and a governor, who would have valued obedience from the Jewish population above all else. The one thing certain to get Paul executed would be if he appeared to be a revolutionary; and thus, rather than emphasize his differences with the Jewish high priests, he emphasizes his obedience to God. He also points out that his teaching is not new, but rather something promised by Moses and other prophets — religious authorities with whom the king would be comfortable.
Paul also emphasizes how public his subsequent teachings have been. The cult of Christianity had become fairly large and widespread by this time. Paul wants to assure both king and governor that it is not a secret society, by letting them know that the entire doctrine was open. Again, this is to quiet any fears they might have of political revolt. Revolutionary groups would often begin with a benign public appearance, but would hold secret meetings where the more dangerous aspects of doctrine were given only to members.