Daily Devotion for July 1, 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.
O Jesus, wondrous king and noble conqueror, unutterable sweetness, wholly desirable: Remain with us, Lord, and enlighten us with light, drive away the darkness of our minds, fill the world with sweetness.
Prayer for the Morning
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.
~ Winston Churchill
Paul's First Journey
Acts 14:19-23 (ESV)
Paul Stoned at Lystra
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul and Barnabas' mission to Lystra was tumultuous. Having been chased out of Iconium, 30 miles to the north, they came to Lystra. When Paul healed a man, the city hailed them as incarnations of Zeus and Apollo.
But the enemies they had made in Iconium and Antioch (in Pisidia) followed them to Lystra like a gang of thugs; and, apparently, when the people of Lystra understood that Barnabas and Paul weren't, in fact, Greek gods come to earth, many of them joined the mob from the north and attacked them, stoning Paul and leaving him for dead.
The two apostles (as Paul and Barnabas came to be called) and their companions were dauntless. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, they made converts in the nearby town of Derbe and then returned to the other towns — where they had enemies who had already tried to kill them — to strengthen and organize the new devotees into more structured churches.
In each place, they appointed "elders", members of the church who were stable, respected, and devout. This is one of a number of leadership positions mentioned in the New Testament, in connection with the early churches; nowhere does the Bible give us a specific blueprint for how a church must be organized, but clearly, some sort of leadership is required for any group of size to function.
The variety of terms used in the New Testament for those who lead churches (both as to practical leadership and spiritual leadership) are myriad, and their meaning often uncertain. Moreover, different translations use different English words. The Greek word used in Acts 14:23 is "presbuterous", which literally means "older men"; so "elder" is a good translation for it. Today, both "elder" and/or "presbyter" are used in various denominations to denote some sort of duty or rank in church organization, usually in a local church, just as in today's lesson.