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Daily Devotion for September 3, 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
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory for ever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son. May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For those in the Armed Forces
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.)
The richness of the human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome.
~ Helen Keller
Acts 27:39-44 (ESV)
Paul is Shipwrecked!
Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.
But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf.
The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.
Notes on the Scripture
Just when the ships' company believe they are safe, having spied a nice safe beach, one last disaster strikes: they run aground on a reef. But Paul, with the help of the centurion, makes sure everybody gets ashore in one piece.
It is difficult to recreate in our mind exactly how dangerous and terrifying their ordeal of a storm at sea was. The Romans were geniuses at engineering; for example, London's streets, sewers, public hygiene and water supply declined precipitously after Rome abandoned Londinium and did not recover the same level until late in Victoria's reign. But the Romans never applied this genius to shipbuilding.
Roman ships differed only incrementally from those developed by the Phoenicians. These were shallow-draft, square rigged ships without jibs, and could not handle adverse winds or heavy seas. Paul's grain ship would have been perhaps 80 feet long. (See reproduction, below.)
These ships were primarily built to sail along the coastline, staying in sight of land; however, the Romans did send them across the Mediterranean during the calm spring and summer, especially to haul grain and other goods from north Africa to Italy. They simple did not have the structural strength or design to hold together and stay upright and afloat during a heavy storm. Also, navigation was utterly primitive.
It is a miracle that Paul and the entire ship were not killed. They were blown in a tiny ship by a gale, having neither power nor any idea where they were, five hundred miles across the Mediterranean Sea.