Daily Devotion for July 13, 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.
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 Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
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.
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Paul's Second Journey
Acts 17:1-9 (NIV)
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.
"This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah," he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.
But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus."
When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul and Silas are marching through Macedonia (modern day northern Greece) like generals on a campaign. (See map.) Thessalonica was, and is today, a major port. There they have great success converting both Jews and Gentiles. Although women were silent in synagogues, their importance to the creation of this church is highlighted by their specific mention.
The resistance to Christian conversion is growing. Just as they did in Christ's trial, the Jewish authorities attempt to convince the Roman government that Jesus is a temporal king and therefore Paul and Silas are political enemies of Rome.
Rome allowed an unusual degree of religious freedom to conquered territories, but any sign of political rebellion was dealt with swiftly and harshly. So the enemies of Christianity attempted to convince Roman authorities that Christianity was a political party, rather than a religion.
As an interesting side note, there is an unusual respect for judicial process. These events occurred during the reign of Claudius, a relatively sane and beneficent Roman Emperor; his character is reflected in fair treatment of Paul and Silas. The mob, instead of simply beating and stoning Paul and Silas, take them to the "police"; and the magistrate arrests them and then lets them free on bail, pending trial.