Daily Devotion for August 3, 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.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
Now the God of patience and consolation grant us to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
Paul's Third Journey
Acts 20:25-31 (NIV)
Paul's Farewell to the Ephesian Elders 
"I have spent time with you preaching about the kingdom. I know that none of you will ever see me again. So I tell you today that I am not guilty if anyone has not believed. I haven't let anyone keep me from telling you everything God wants you to do.
Keep watch over yourselves. Keep watch over all the believers. The Holy Spirit has made you leaders over them. Be shepherds of God's church. He bought it with his own blood.
I know that after I leave, wild wolves will come in among you. They won't spare any of the sheep. Even men from your own people will rise up and twist the truth. They want to get the believers to follow them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning you. Night and day I warned each of you with tears."
Notes on the Scripture
Paul's farewell is a heartfelt and emotional goodbye. He has lived with or near these people, in a small community, for three years. Paul, who must be in his 50's by now, tells them he will not see them again. We can guess at least two reasons for this. First, he has called them to meet him in Miletus; perhaps Ephesus has become too dangerous for him to return there. Second, he is being led by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, which is definitely a dangerous place for him. He anticipates trouble.
We get another little insight into how Paul converted people; he says that he warned them "with tears". Paul was a "people person"; his attempts to save souls involved complete direct contact with others, for however long it took, with great emotional involvement. He was trying to save lives one at a time.
One of the warnings he gives is particularly appropriate to later times: Men from their Christian communities will twist the truth, because they want believers to follow them. Unfortunately, this problem is constant. Men and women in every generation twist the Bible and gather followers, for their personal pride and worldly gain. The greatest protection we have for this is to read the Bible, to know the Bible, and to refuse to ignore the plain meaning of important passages.