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Daily Devotion for September 8, 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.
I dreamed my life was over,
And they laid me in my grave.
I was frightened of forever,
And the price I'd have to pay.
And I thought that God would hate me,
'Cause I'd lived my life in sin.
But I felt the truth embrace me,
As heaven let me in.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
I pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. I pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
Lord my God, remember and have mercy on my brothers and sisters who are involved in every civil conflict. Remove from their midst all hostility, confusion and hatred. Lead everyone along the path of reconciliation and peace, I pray You, hear us and have mercy on us.
Let all believers turn aside from violence and do what makes for peace. By the strength of your mighty arm save your people and your Holy Church from all evil oppression; hear the supplications of all who call to you in sorrow and affliction, day and night. Merciful God, let their lives not be lost, I pray you, hear us and have mercy.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory 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.)
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Acts 28:23-28 (ESV)
Paul in Rome 
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.
And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
'Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'
Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."
Notes on the Scripture
Paul, a prisoner in Rome, wastes no time in setting up shop. After three days in the city, he has begun to preach and make converts. His preaching is limited to Jews, though, because they are the only ones who will come to him. The Romans are lenient with him, but his house arrest apparently precludes preaching from public places.
He converts some of the Jews; those who will not be convinced, he criticizes with a famous passage from Isaiah (Isaiah 6:9-10). The reason for their leaving is not clear. Perhaps they have heard all they can absorb in one sitting and are just ready to go and debate Paul's teachings among themselves. Some, however, would certainly be shocked by Paul's statement, "this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles".
The Old Testament supports Paul's words, however, specifically that the covenant between God and the Hebrews was created to benefit all the people of earth (Genesis 18:18). According to Isaiah, the Messiah would be "a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)
But many Jews (like many Christians today) ignored parts of the Bible that did not suit their preconceptions. Paul's preaching to Gentiles and the acceptance of Gentiles as equals in the Christian churches offended many Jews, who had come to see themselves as eternally special, the only people who could live in God's grace. Those who opposed Paul used this as a wedge to criticize him, fabricating tales of Paul taking Gentiles into Jewish temples and urging Jews not to be circumcised (neither of which was true).
The rumors against Paul had reached Rome before his arrival; so, apparently, his mention of salvation for the Gentiles caused both groups of Jews — those who were convinced by him and those who opposed him — to leave.