Daily Devotion for July 24, 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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Paul's Third Journey
Acts 19:8-10 (ESV)
Paul in Ephesus 
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.
This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
Notes on the Scripture
Unless you are a Bible scholar, all of Paul's travels are probably getting a bit overwhelming and confusing. If so, you aren't alone. The Book of Acts has a lot of history compressed into a small space and most of it is untaught outside of Bible study classes. The names of people and places are confusing, and the events span a time period of roughly 24 years.
Paul will make four major journeys. Today, we are in the middle of the third, and it might be a good idea to recap what has gone on so far.
The first journey, made with Barnabas, was the shortest of the three. It lasted about two years. Paul sailed from Antioch to the island of Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean; he crossed the island east to west, founding churches in several cites. He then sailed north to central Turkey, primarily provinces known at the time as Cilicia and Galatia. Quite a bit is written about his adventures in this area, notably the towns of Perga, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (in Pisidia), in Acts 13-14. He then backtracked to the coast and sailed back to Antioch, where he stayed for several years.
The second journey took about three years and formed a great circle through Turkey, Greece, and back by ship sailing along the south coast of Turkey. It began when he returned to Galatia to visit the mainland churches he founded in his first visit. He then struck out northwest across the entire length of Turkey, reaching the northwest corner of Anatolia, and sailed across the Aegean Sea to Philippi in northern Greece (then called Macedonia). From Philippi, he traveled by land down the length of Greece to Corinth and Athens, both of which were major events. From Athens he sailed to Ephesus, where he stayed only briefly before sailing straight home to Antioch.
We are now at the beginning of Paul's third journey. Paul had left Aquila and Priscilla (Jews who had been expelled from Italy) behind in Ephesus, and his first order of business is to return there. At this point, the Bible tells us simply that he stayed in Ephesus for two years and spread the word to "all of Asia". "Asia" here means western Turkey; the name would not be applied to the world's largest continent until many centuries later.