Daily Devotion for August 28, 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.
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Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.)
No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he had only had good intentions.
~ Margaret Thatcher
Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice 
Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!"
But he said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe."
Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian."
And Paul said, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains."
When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, "This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains."
Then Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."
Notes on the Scripture
Porcius Festus, the Roman governor, is by no means the first person to tell Paul he is crazy. In fact, one might imagine that innumerable persons who had heard him speak of raising people from the dead, flashes of light and voices from God, not to mention his account of Jesus, would simply think he was schizophrenic. Imagine him speaking in a park today. Hardly a passerby would not dismiss him as a raving lunatic.
Jews, however, often take what he says more seriously, as he speaks on a subject many of them believe in deeply: the law and the prophets. Agrippa, a Jew himself, says he is almost persuaded, but it is hard to know what he meant. It might simply be the kind of lie many politicians tell easily and almost automatically. Or he might be genuinely moved, to the point that only his importance and high station prevent him from making the step to salvation.
The three notables agree that Paul has done nothing wrong. But it is easy for them to say that Paul "might have been set free" if he had not appealed to Rome. Empty words are easily spoken. They have no real power to convict or exculpate Paul — he must be sent to Rome. We have no way of knowing if Agrippa would actually have freed Paul, had the appeal not been made, but one must be skeptical.
More likely than not, if Paul had not made his appeal, he would have been sent to Jerusalem and murdered by the Jews, who had plotted to ambush him and do exactly that.
Today in Daily Prayer
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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon