Daily Devotion for July 16, 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.
The World's Oldest Living Gospel Quartet!
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant us to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
Paul's Second Journey
Acts 17:22-27 (ESV)
Paul Addresses the Areopagus
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said:
"Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.'
What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him."
Notes on the Scripture
Today's Scripture recounts a monumental day in the history of religion and civilization.
The Roman Empire, stretching from Britain to Egypt, took its culture from Greece, including its polytheistic religion. Up until this point, Paul and the other missionaries have converted only those who believed in the Hebrew God (although some were Gentiles). But today, he steps onto the center stage of Greco-Roman philosophy, the Areopagus of Athens, and tells them -- the high priests of logic -- that the religion of the mighty Roman Empire is false. For the first time, he tries to convert Romans from their state religion to Christianity.
If you find it weird to encounter Stoics and Epicureans in the Bible, you are not alone. To see Paul debating with the professional philosophers of Athens is startling.
And from the Greeks' point of view, it is just as startling. Paul is a hick preacher of a minor religion, not a learned Greek scholar. But Paul has enormous power as a speaker and rationalist. He instinctively uses a minor alter dedicated "to the unknown god" as a hook for his argument.
But the real force of his argument does not come from Greek logic. Rather, it comes from an emotional and spiritual argument. The very idea of a personal relationship with a living God was revolutionary to the Greek wise men. Rather than starting with the human mind and seeking to find God with it, Paul tells them that God has found them.
It is an argument that will change the world. As we know today, Paul will prevail, and over the next 100 years, Rome will become the very center of Christianity.