Daily Devotion for July 22, 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
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
But I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities.
Paul Begins His Third Journey; Apollos Goes to Ephesus
After spending some time there [in Antioch], he [Paul] departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
Notes on the Scripture
The Book of Acts segues abruptly from Paul's second journey to his third; the only indication of a break is a few words that say he spent some time in Antioch, then departed for Galatia and Phrygia. But after telling us about Paul's departure, Acts shifts immediately to a different thread, describing the second-generation missionaries Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos. This makes the narrative a bit hard to follow, but we will pick back up with Paul tomorrow. There is no more mention of Paul's work in central Turkey; when we see him again, it will be in the western port city of Ephesus, where he will spend three years.
The bulk of today's Scripture describes the growth of a second generation of Christian teachers and missionaries. They come from all over the Roman world to the new centers of Christianity. Priscilla and Aquila, who were Italian but forced to emigrate to Corinth because they were Jewish, have studied and devoted themselves to Christ so thoroughly that they have founded one of the most important churches of the ancient world, Ephesus. Although Paul had stopped briefly in Ephesus -- a major seaport -- he had not founded a church there. Aquila and Priscilla have apparently worked on their own to found a little Christian community.
We do not have a hint why Apollos comes to Ephesus. Clearly it was growing in importance as a Christian center, but still, Antioch was the most important church outside Jerusalem. Perhaps he traveled by ship and the route to Ephesus was convenient.
"Achaia" is the southeastern part of Greece, the most "Greek" part of the Roman Empire, where most of the great city states (Athens, Sparta, Corinth, etc.) were located.