Christ Before Pilate (detail) by Duccio, ca. 1311.
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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 Day
Lord, may I always remember that no matter the day and whatever hardship I face, you are with me, extending your hand in love. Help me to be open to your guidance, knowing that you want what is best for me, only asking in return sorrow for my sins and my willingness to do good. In Christ’s name I pray,
Mason Barge from The Christophers 2/21/2015
I Take Your Hand Sweet Jesus
When my world falls down around me
And the ground is sinking sand,
When peace can’t be found on this earth,
I reach out for Your hand.
When Your hand wraps ’round my own
A strength pours from Your Spirit;
It brings to me a quiet calm
Til once again I’m whole
A peace beyond all reason,
A rest there in Your touch,
Something in Your quiet words
My heart yearns for so much...
If I but rest my worries
Upon Your shoulder there,
Strength that pours forth from Your Spirit
Will wash away each care.
Like a cool sweet taste of water
For a tired thirsty man,
My heart finds peace, my soul is calm,
When I reach out for Your hand.
anon. Mason Barge 11/5/2015
[We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God.]
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
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.
Two girls called simply “The Church Sisters” give us some much-needed inspiration, in a song made popular by Jim Reeves.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Acts 17:1-9 (ESV)
Paul’s Second Journey
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
Today’s Scripture and Notes jump back a few chapters; this is the devotional that was supposed to appear on May 24.
ow when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”
And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd.
And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”
And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul and Silas are marching through Macedonia (modern day northern Greece) like generals on a campaign. (See map.) Thessalonica was, and is today, a major port. There they have great success converting both Jews and Gentiles. Although women were silent in synagogues, their importance to the creation of this church is highlighted by their specific mention.
The resistance to Christian conversion is growing. Just as they did in Christ’s trial, the Jewish authorities attempt to convince the Roman government that Jesus is a temporal king and therefore Paul and Silas are political enemies of Rome.
Rome allowed an unusual degree of religious freedom to conquered territories, but any sign of political rebellion was dealt with swiftly and harshly. So the enemies of Christianity attempted to convince Roman authorities that Christianity was a political party, rather than a religion.
As an interesting side note, there is an unusual respect for judicial process. These events occurred during the reign of Claudius, a relatively sane and beneficent Roman Emperor; his character is reflected in fair treatment of Paul and Silas. The mob, instead of simply beating and stoning Paul and Silas, take them to the “police”; and the magistrate arrests them and then lets them free on bail, pending trial.