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Daily Devotion for August 4, 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.
A sweet, slightly Caribbean-sounding gospel song by the Ghana Gospel Girls.
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Help with Our Troubles
O God, my help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the supplications of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner. Have mercy upon me, and deliver me from all the troubles and tribulations of life. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that all trials of this life are given by you for our chastisement, when we drift away from you and disobey your commandments, and thus for our salvation.
Deal not with me after my sins, I pray, but according to your measureless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. Grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering, I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life, and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy, and exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Inspiration — The Future
Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again.
Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Paul's Third Journey
Paul's Farewell to the Ephesian Elders 
"Now I commit you to God's care. I commit you to the word of his grace. It can build you up. Then you will share in what God plans to give all his people.
I haven't longed for anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that I have used my own hands to meet my needs. I have also met the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that we must work hard and help the weak. We must remember the words of the Lord Jesus. He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
When Paul had said this, he got down on his knees with all of them and prayed. They all cried as they hugged and kissed him. What hurt them the most was that he had said they would never see his face again. Then they went with him to the ship.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul gives himself as an example at the end of his farewell speech. Whatever we may think of Paul's pride, we cannot fault him for his sincerity. He has dedicated himself and his enormous talents – his mind, body, and soul – to the spread of Christ's word and grace. He was the instrument of God, in bringing Christianity to the world outside of Judea.
He has traveled all over the Greek world. Today, we think of Turkey as a separate country, an Islamic country with a peculiar language called Turkish. But in 50 A.D., things were very different. Turkey did not exist. Islam did not exist. The land, often called Anatolia, was a collection of tribes dominated by Greek culture and language. Its importance in world affairs was great. The Greek-speaking area including Greece, Macedonia, and Turkey was the cultural center of the Western world.
Paul's admonitions to the elders, in the form of extolling his own virtuous behavior, concentrates on wealth. He has spent only what was necessary to feed and clothe himself and his followers; and the source of his funds has been the work of his hands. He forms a stark contrast to some Christian leaders today (and even more so to Christian leaders in the Middle Ages).