Daily Devotion for June 24, 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 defy you not to be touched by this little girl performing I Sing a Song of the Saints of God!
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.
Paul's First Journey
In Antioch in Pisidia
Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down.
After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: Friends, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them. Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:
"Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me!
The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, and for forty years he endured them in the desert. He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. All of this took about 450 years."
After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him:
I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like [Psalm 89:20], a man who will do all I want him to do. It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Savior of the people of Israel, as he had promised. Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people,
Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.
Notes on the Scripture
We are now well into the first really long and arduous foreign journey taken by the disciples; this is commonly known as Paul's First Journey. There are many maps of it available online; the Daily Devotion map of this journey shows only the towns and countries visited, not the routes, since we are reading Acts so closely. (Showing lines for routes often makes these maps hard to read.)
Paul, Barnabas, and some others come to a town named "Antioch" in central Anatolia; this town should not be confused with the great city of Anatolia from which they started.
When he begins to preach, Paul, as usual, begins with a capsule history of Judaism. Unlike Peter's great sermon earlier, Paul omits Abraham and concentrates on the eras of the judges and kings. From these he segues into the story of John the Baptist. While Paul does not mention Moses by name, he refers to him, as all the conversion sermons given to Jewish audiences do.
Paul's sermon follows a logical and rhetorically effective line; he gives the history of leadership of the Hebrews, concentrating on how God has changed the nature of the leadership: prophets, to judges, to kings, to John the Baptist. He thus prepares his audience for the idea that radical change in governance of Judaism has sound historical precedent.
Historical precedent is important to the Jews; by showing that Christ's ascendancy is another step in the normal progression of Judaism, he eases his audience into the idea that Christ's teachings are part of Hebrew history. That is, Christ is not a heretic. Rather, Christ has transformed Judaism into a closer relationship with God, just as Moses, Samuel, Saul, David and John have done before Him.
For similar reasons, he cites prophesy of Christ's coming; then recites John the Baptist's testimony that Jesus is this Christ. Again, this ties Christ to beliefs already solidly integrated into Jewish theology.