Daily Devotion for June 22, 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.
In memory of those fallen in battle: Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love. and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
Acts 13:1-5 (NKJV)
Preaching in Cyprus
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.
Notes on the Scripture
As we saw yesterday, the center of Christianity's spread had shifted to Antioch, an important city in Anatolia, close to the border of modern Turkey and Syria. There are several reasons for the rise of the church at Antioch. Primarily, it was not in a province ruled by Herod Agrippa (such as Judea and Galilee). Agrippa was tight with the Jewish religious authorities and had no compunctions about persecuting Christians. Also, Antioch was a large important city, reasonably close to Jerusalem but outside the reach of the Pharisees, and its church grew large.
The Holy Spirit has called Saul and Barnabas, two leading members of the Antioch Church, on a sea journey which brings them to Baranabas' home town: the city of Salamis on the island of Cyprus. (This is not the same Salamis known today for the great naval battle between Athens and Persia.) The mission was to last over two years, from 46 A.D. to 48 A.D. (See Map of Paul and Barnabas' mission.)
We don't really know the identity of the "John" who went with them; it is probably not John the Evangelist.