Daily Devotion for July 17, 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 hymn Jerusalem as sung at the Royal Wedding (Katherine and Prince William)
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?
Prayer for the Morning
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Inspiration - "Attitude"
What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.
~ J. Sidlow Baxter
Paul's Second Journey
Acts 17:26-28 (ESV)
Paul Addresses the Areopagus 
"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. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
as even some of your own poets have said,
Notes on the Scripture
Paul continues his spectacular speech to the Greek philosophers by stating both how and why humanity was created. We were created by a single God, and the purpose of our lives is to find our way to him. He dwells close to us, where He may be easily found.
Paul's rhetorical training is limited compared to his audience, for he is speaking to the most sophisticated philosophers in the Western world. Luckily, he is thoroughly grounded in the use of precedent. Proof by precedent — showing that one's argument is supported by accepted ancient authorities — is the fundamental method of argument used in Judaism. Although the Greeks did not lean on ancient scholars as much as the Jews lean on the Bible and Mosaic Law, they recognized precedent as a valid form of argument.
Paul also shows some education, because he recites a line — "For we are indeed his offspring" — from one of the most popular works in Greek philosophy, the Phaenomena of Aratus. "Phaenomena" means phenomena, or appearances. The Phaenomena of Aratus was a work describing the constellations. Every educated Greek listener would have known it.
In his work, Aratus stated that Zeus had created the universe, including mankind. This theory was at odds with the accepted Greek mythology. But some Greek philosophers (Plato, to name one famous one, and the Stoics in general) had already begun to ponder the possibility that there was one god who created the universe.
Plato and the Stoics called this driving force of the universe the "logos", or the Word. There ideas were very close to John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word". In fact, the word "Word" in our Bible is a translation of the Greek word "logos".
So in today's Scripture, Paul has shown the intimidating scholars of Greek Areopagus that he belongs on the speakers' podium. He has successfully shown the crowd — and it is a very critical crowd indeed — that there is ample precedent in Greek philosophy for the idea that one god created all humanity and continues to take interest in our lives. It is comfortable ground for the philosophers; they have heard similar arguments before.
In his next words, however, Paul will say things that will amaze and confound them.