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Daily Devotion for July 19, 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.
Elvis wasn't the only pop star to sing great gospel. The great Sam Cooke made numerous gospel albums in the 1950s and 60s. (This tune, Stand by Me, has no relation to the hit song by Percy Sledge.)
Prayer for the Morning
You usher in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God, if You'll renew me too.
Forgive the many errors, Lord, that I made yesterday, And let me try again, dear God, to walk close in Thy way.
But Father, I'm aware that I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father in heaven, creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon me and receive my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you for all the graces and blessings you have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our Lord and friends. Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued grace and blessings during the coming day. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your only son, who has saved us from death.
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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.
A roman military tent, such as Paul would have made.
Therefore, for Your name's sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Paul's Second Journey
Acts 18:1-8 (CEB)
Paul in Corinth 
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus. He had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul visited with them.
Because they practiced the same trade, he stayed and worked with them. They all worked with leather. Every Sabbath he interacted with people in the synagogue, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks.
Once Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself fully to the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. When they opposed and slandered him, he shook the dust from his clothes in protest and said to them, "You are responsible for your own fates! I'm innocent! From now on I'll go to the Gentiles!"
He left the synagogue and went next door to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile God-worshipper. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household came to believe in the Lord. Many Corinthians believed and were baptized after listening to Paul.
Notes on the Scripture
Today's Scripture is a straightforward account of Paul in Corinth. Paul stays at first with Aquila and Priscilla, Italian Jews who, like many Jews to come, had been expelled from their country by a villainous ruler. He then gets upset because so many Jews are resisting conversion and moves in with a Gentile family, declaring that the Jews can -- in effect -- go to hell.
We get some insight into Paul's method of travel. Unlike most pilgrims, Paul is not carrying money to pay for his trip or asking for donations. He is working his way. His trade is working in leather, and he moves in with Aquila because he is also a leather-worker. No doubt this was advantageous to Paul; Aquila would have known the best places to buy leather and supplies and to sell finished products, and might have given Paul a workspace.
We will learn later on that Paul is specifically a tent-maker by trade. Although making tents from leather might seem odd today, it was very popular 2000 years ago. Canvas was available, but it did not hold up as well and was even more labor-intensive in ancient days than leather. Leather is good for traveling, because it is pliable and so easy to set up and take down, and is rain-resistant. The Roman army used leather tents almost exclusively. (Leather tents were also popular among other bronze and iron-age herding peoples, such as the teepee's and wigwams of native peoples of North America, the Mongols of Asia, etc.)
Jews probably did not tan much leather, which is difficult to do while following Mosaic law, so Paul would have bought his skins already tanned. Their leather was primarily goat and calf skin, which are "clean" animals and make light leathers.
Today, some Christians use the word "tentmaker" to describe people who function in Christian ministries but receive little or no pay for church work, getting their livelihood from unrelated work. A few of them actually make tents to earn money!