Daily Devotion for January 9, 2012
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.
Especially dedicated to anyone who has lost a parent.
Prayer for the MorningFor the bird who sings outside my window,
For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,
Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To see them all and know that you are here.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make us faithful to your Word that we may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
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.
And Israel would have none of Me.
So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.
Paul's Plan to Visit Rome 
This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.
At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them.
For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.
Notes on the Scripture
In the previous verses, Paul explained his busy schedule and his preference for traveling to places that had never heard of Christ. " I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named . . . ." This forms his apology for not having come to visit the church in Rome. We learn from his explanations a few details of his last years that were omitted from Acts.
First, the reason for him going to Jerusalem. Paul was in Corinth when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. He had received financial donations from the Greeks to be sent to Jerusalem and needed to carry them there. Although Paul was based in Antioch, Jerusalem was still the center of Christianity. Peter was in Jerusalem as the leader of a great Council and, because of this, it had somewhat the same role in the early church as Rome would come to have in the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages.
As those who were with us when we read Acts, or have read it elsewhere, will remember, traveling to Jerusalem was Paul's last free act, for he was arrested by the Jewish high priest. And ironically, as regards today's passage, he was taken to Rome after he appealed to the Emperor. Luckily, he was not thrown into some dungeon in Rome. He was allowed to rent a house, entertain, and carry on with his teaching and work, for the Roman government had very little concern with foreign religions.
Thus, ironically, Paul probably never made it to Spain, but he did make it to Rome for a long visit. (Some non-Biblical traditions hold that Paul did eventually end up in Spain, but these are not given much historical credence. More likely, he died in Rome.)