Daily Devotion for July 28, 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.
"Is your burden heavy as you bear it all alone?"
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer of Thanks
O Thou whose bounty fills my cup, With every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, The bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road, And for the riverside; For all Thy goodness hath bestowed, And all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown, And for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown And for the present cross.
I thank Thee for both wings of love Which stirred my worldly nest; And for the stormy clouds which drove Me, trembling, to Thy breast.
I bless Thee for the glad increase, And for the waning joy; And for this strange, this settled peace Which nothing can destroy.
by Jane Crewdson (1860)
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Paul's Third Journey
Acts 19:28-34 (NIV)
The Riot in Ephesus 
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together.
Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.
The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
Notes on the Scripture
Demetrius the silversmith has started a proper riot, indeed. The importance of the great Temple of Artemis is so great that it does not much in the way of a threat to create hysteria. (See yesterday's Daily Devotional.) And like most spontaneous riots, it is utter confusion mixed with enormous potential for violence.
The man named Alexander is a Jew, and almost certainly not a Christian. The Jews are justifiably afraid that this unfocused riot will turn on them because, like the Christians, they consider the Temple of Artemis to be profane.
Ironically, however, it is not their fault. The Jews kept their religion pretty much to themselves. They wouldn't have entered the Temple or made idols for it, but they would not have been trying to convince worshippers that the Temple was unclean and evil. It is Paul and his companions, who are after all "Jewish" by birth, who have been openly preaching against the worship of idols and trying to convert Gentiles.
This will hardly be the last time that the Jews get blamed for something they didn't do.
First page of the Gospel of John, from the Book of Kells