Daily Devotion for July 14, 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.
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.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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 what you have in your heart.
~ Author Unknown
Paul's Second Journey
Paul and Silas In Berea (CEB)
As soon as it was dark, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas on to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
The Berean Jews were more honorable than those in Thessalonica. This was evident in the great eagerness with which they accepted the word and examined the scriptures each day to see whether Paul and Silas's teaching was true. Many came to believe, including a number of reputable Greek women and many Greek men.
The Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul also proclaimed God's word in Berea, so they went there too and were upsetting and disturbing the crowds. The brothers and sisters sent Paul away to the seacoast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained at Berea. Those who escorted Paul led him as far as Athens, then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul is now hunted. As happened in central Anatolia (Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe) his teachings have outraged the Jewish establishment. Paul's religion is not even a proper Jewish sect: it includes Gentiles. The converted Jews worship and consort openly with non-Jewish Gentiles. This would have been doubly inflammatory, like a social club in the Jim Crow era that included both whites and blacks.
Mobs take to the road to find and kill him.
For unknown reasons, the tiny Jewish community in Berea accepts the missionaries. The reaction of the Berean Jews is to study the Scripture in order to verify (or disprove) what Paul has preached. Rather than accepting a new religion or rejecting it out of hand, they try to learn the facts and understand the arguments before making a decision.
But the Jews of Berea are an exception; most of those involved in the struggle for Christianity — occurring all the way from the Egyptian border to Athens — have become set in their beliefs and have joined one of four camps, with political and social effect (as well as religious). Foremost is a Jewish splinter sect who believe that Christ is their Messiah. Peter is their leader, and Paul their primary point man in the field.
Second is a group of monotheistic Gentiles. They have been attracted to the personal relationship with the One God that Judaism teaches, and they seem to adopt Christ more easily than the actual Jews. Their full acceptance by the Christian Jews has begun to change Christianity from essentially a Jewish sect into a completely new religion.
Ranged against them is the traditional Jewish establishment, which openly wants them arrested, and if possible executed, for heresy. They are joined by a few Gentiles whom Pauls has managed to irritate (for commercial reasons rather than religious).
The most powerful political force in the world, however — Rome itself — is apathetic. Rome has hardly even noticed the new religion.
In tomorrow's Scripture, Christianity will take a huge step forward. Paul will begin to proselytize the Gentiles directly, by telling them the Greco-Roman gods are false.