Daily Devotion for October 23, 2014
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.
Alan Jackson does a great version of How Great Thou Art with an old-fashioned, “country” feel.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
Prayer of a Nigerian Christian
God in heaven, you have helped my life to grow like a tree. Now something has happened. Satan, like a bird, has carried in one twig of his own choosing after another. Before I knew it he had built a dwelling place and was living in it. Today, My Father, I am throwing out both the bird and the nest.
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,
[Direct me in all my ways.]
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
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.
This is an interesting personality inventory taken from Peter Kreeft's book, Jesus Shock! Take a piece of paper and write down the names of the three greatest living persons in the world today. Be honest - nobody but you will see it. Don't waste a lot of time or agonize over it, just write down (or hold in your mind) three names. Then go to the Daily Prayer Community for Kreeft's discussion.
Acts 17:1-10a (ESV)
Now 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 . . . 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 . . . [t]he brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea.
Notes on the Scripture
Introduction to 1 Thessalonians
We begin our study of the Pauline Epistles with the oldest book in the New Testament, written about 51 A.D. We know quite a bit about the church, because its founding is detailed in Acts 17, today's Scripture. Paul entered Thessalonica (with Silas and Timothy) on his second missionary journey, fresh from a severe whipping in Philippi.
It was a large seaport with a considerable Jewish community, which had its own synagogue; the Jews were disliked for a number of reasons: Separatism, piety, and refusal to worship the emperor. The Greek reputation for sexual immorality was founded in fact: bisexuality, adultery, prostitution, pornography, sexual slavery and sex with children were commonplace and expected.
aul began his proselytizing, as he often did, by speaking in the synagogue; and both the Jews and the Greeks, as they often did, attacked him. While Acts tells of only three Sabbaths; a longer stay (avoiding the synagogue) is likely, given the number of Greek converts. But whatever the reason — a need for a moral structure, the power of Paul's preaching, God's will — the church at Thessalonika was a great success.
Consider what it was like for them. While there were some higher-born in the church, the average member had a pagan upbringing, worked at menial labor, spoke koine (common) Greek as a first language, and was illiterate. They would have been torn from their society and friends and pledged to a new ethic that was utterly foreign to them. They were harrassed; an unknown but substantial number of them were physically punished.
They met in semi-secret in private homes with perhaps several dozen other believers, including Jews whose backgrounds and habits were odd or even bizarre. The Jews, likewise, were torn from the comfort of their synagogue and familiar comunity. But the Thessalonians “made it work”, as Tim Gunn says. They developed a new family with powerful bonds; Paul will use the word “philadelphia”, brotherly love, to describe the strong bonds of this fictive family (1 Thess. 4:9). God was truly their Father, and they were truly brothers and sisters to one another.
Timothy carried this letter to Thessalonika and delivered it by reading it aloud in the little home-churches. It would have taken him half an hour if he went straight through. But we might imagine repeated readings, in whole or part, with lengthy discussions.
The primary impetus for this Epistle was the need for eschatalogical teaching. Eschatology (the “study of the end”) concerns what will happen at the end of the age: the destruction of the earth, the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead. Early Christian churches had more immediate concern with eschatalogical issues than we have today, for many believed the end of time would come quickly.