Daily Devotion for June 9, 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.
Great God we Love Thee (in German)
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
Semonkong Waterfall in Lesotho (Africa)
He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations.
Acts 9:36-43 (ASV)
Peter Heals Aeneas and Raises Dorcus
While Peter was traveling from place to place, he visited the Lord's followers who lived in the town of Lydda. There he met a man named Aeneas, who for eight years had been sick in bed and could not move. Peter said to Aeneas, "Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed." Right away he stood up. Many people in the towns of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and became followers of the Lord.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she fell sick, and died: and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper chamber. And as Lydda was nigh unto Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men unto him, entreating him, Delay not to come on unto us.
And Peter arose and went with them. And when he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down and prayed; and turning to the body, he said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
And it became known throughout all Joppa: and many believed on the Lord. And it came to pass, that he abode many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
Notes on the Scripture
Acts has left the story of Saul and returned to Peter. One of the difficulties in reading Acts is that it jumps around from person to person and from place to place. Luckily, it is generally easy to read. Unlike the Gospel of John or many of the epistles, where the text is often dense and filled with subtleties and symbolism, most of Acts is a straightforward account of events.
During this period, called the Age of Apostles, a number of miracles are still being performed. Two of them are recounted today; Peter heals a chronically ill man and raises a woman from apparent death.
It is impossible to know God's mind. During the Apostolic Age, he performed miracles, similar to those performed by Christ himself, through those who had known Christ personally. Peter, in particular, has miracles recorded.
One of the tests of faith for the modern Christian is that such miracles are rarely, if ever, seen. We are generally expected to accept Christ without seeing holy men who publicly raise people from the dead or restore chronically ill people to health.
Nobody can really say why this is. Most Christian denominations (or individuals) believe that God has not sent a prophet to explain it. Very often, charlatans claiming to act in God's name will fake miracles, in order to get donations. It is very discouraging, sometimes, to see hucksters making a mockery of our faith.
But miracles occur every day, and they are available for every person to see. The sun comes up in the morning. We recover from illnesses, either spontaneously or through medicine.
Scientists scoff at these miracles, believing that they occur from nature, but their knowledge is shallow. Take, as a small example, penicillin. A doctor will say that he has healed a person with penicillin; it is not a miracle, he will say, but the intelligence of man using a naturally occurring fungus. But who made the fungus?
He might tell you that the fungus occurred as an accident of nature, or through natural selection and evolution. But where did the molecules that make up the fungus come from, and why do they work? If you continue to ask any scientist these basic questions, he will — he must — eventually say, "I don't know".
Similarly, astronomers will say that "gravity", a natural phenomenon, make the earth circle around the sun and thus make the sun come up in the morning. But ask him what gravity is and he will simply say (if he is an atheist and a fool) that scientists don't understand it "yet". He is filled with the sin of pridefulness, and yet, he cannot explain why these miracles exist.
Any honest scientist will admit that he doesn't understand how or why the universe came into existence, or the forces that hold it together.
Perhaps, as our knowledge increases, God expects us to see his miracles in a way appropriate to the age we live in. People who would have been "dead" two thousand years ago are still raised; people with illnesses that would have been fatal two thousand years ago are still cured. God's miracles are everywhere; we only have to see them.