Daily Devotion for August 8, 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.
We don't do much contemporary music, but this version of "This Little Light of Mine" is outstanding!
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
But ruthless men retain riches.
Acts 21:18-26 (ESV)
Paul Visits James in Jerusalem
On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs.
What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.
But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality."
Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul arrives in Jerusalem and goes immediately to see James the Just, who was the first bishop of Jerusalem and the author of the Epistle of James. Most scholars believe he was Jesus' natural brother.
The thriving church in Jerusalem was composed almost entirely of Jews, but there is no mention of persecution. Apparently, Jerusalem's Jewish authorities had learned that the new Jesus sect had no political ambitions and allowed it to exist in some degree of peace.
Paul was another matter. He had ired many people. The mixing of Gentile and Jewish Christians, uncommon in Jerusalem, was widespread in the Pauline churches of Greece. Thus Jerusalem was vulnerable to rumors and lies about these distant churches.
Whether maliciously or simply by mistake, word had spread that Paul's Jewish converts had completely abandoned Judaism. James therefore advises Paul to underwrite a Jewish purification ritual for four men who had taken a vow, and also to undergo the ritual himself, to show that he continues to follow the laws of Moses. (In fact, Paul himself had "taken the vow" — a Nazirite vow, similar to the one that Samson had lived under but of short duration — while on his second journey.)