Friday, June 22, 2018
Today we read about the crazy crowds in the One Year Bible, from Acts 14:8-28. First the crowd is amazed that Paul and Barnabas are able to heal a man, so they decide they're gods and start to worship them. But then som religious leaders show up, and they convince the crowd to try to kill Paul instead. So they stone him, and leave him for dead.
It reminds us of the life of Jesus, right? So many times, the people were ready to crown Jesus as their king. But then a few days later, the religious leaders get mad at Him and try to kill Him.
This tends to happen to His followers, as well, right up to the present day. There are times when Christianity is very popular, and the world loves us. The Pope says something they like, and suddenly everyone is listening to him. But then the public opinion changes, and Christians become despised again. The same crowd that loved us yesterday are ready to kill us tomorrow.
So, as we were told 2000 years ago - don't be surprised when the world hates you. Because it WILL. Be ready for it. And be ready to love it anyway. To share His love, which it so desperately needs. Expect the hate. And share the love.
God, thank You for telling us beforehand what will happen. Help us love anyway.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Psalm 139:1-24. We read that God knows every little thing about us. When we lie down, when we rise. He knows what we'll say before we say it.
One thing I've found to be very helpful in my life is to ask God to help me WANT to do the things I need to do each day. To give me the motivation to do the things He wants me to do, even if those things are simple like making my bed or getting gas for my car. Not everything that God wants us to do each day is "spiritual", but He can and will give us the desire to do the things we need to do if we ask Him to. And involving Him in our daily routine helps us to keep Him in our thoughts as we go about our day. It turns every task, no matter how small, into a form of ora et labora... "prayer and work".
Feel free to steal my idea. :)
God, thank You for carrying about every little thing we do. Help us do it all for Your glory.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Today in the One Year Bible, we read Acts 13:16-41. And it tells us about Paul preaching to people in the synagogue. And what he tells them is that God has done something so unbelievable that even if someone explained it to them, they still would be unable to accept it.
What he was explaining, of course, was the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus. That His death and resurrection brings us forgiveness of sins. That He was the expected Messiah that they had been waiting for. That what He did sets us right with God once more.
But there was so much more. Much more than they were expecting. That Jesus, rising from the dead, became the first in a long line of people who would do the same. That death was no longer our final destination, but that we might live eternally, with Him forever.
He has amazing news for you, too. That your sins will no longer ruin your life. That your relationships can be healthy and positive and good for you. That you will have meaning and purpose in your daily life. That you will find yourself helping others to live better lives than they do now.
Hard to believe? But wait. There's more.
God, thank You for giving us more than we can believe. Help us to live in that new life.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Today we read from Acts 12:24-13:15 in the One Year Bible. In that passage, we hear the Christians at Antioch send a message to Paul and Barnabas. They said, "If you have any word of encouragement, come and give it."
The same message comes to us today. There is a lot in the world to be upset about. But as Christians, we have so much to be grateful for. We can, and we should, encourage one another.
Do you have a word of encouragement for your friends today? Is there a compliment or a kind word you could say to a family member? How can you cheer up your neighbor today, who is going through a rough time?
God has given you some words of encouragement. "Come and give it."
God, thank You for giving us words of encouragement for one another. Help us remember to share them.
Monday, June 18, 2018
Today we read from the One Year Bible in Acts 12:1-23. We read about St James being killed with the sword, one of the first martyrs, after St Stephen. But we also read about Peter, who is in jail and being sentenced to die, but who is miraculously released from jail by an angel.
Now, we know that Peter does go on to martyrdom eventually, and is crucified upside down since he said he wasn't worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus. So why did God free him from prison if he was just going to be martyred a little later on?
We see that there are times when we're called to martyrdom, and times when we are not. Peter still had more work to do, to share the gospel with more people, before he was called to the ultimate sacrifice. You and I have more work to do, too. We are also called to share the gospel with more people, and love them with His love, before we're called home. Some of us will be called to martyrdom. Some of us will die natural deaths, like St John, who was boiled in oil by his persecutors, but God had other plans for him, and the oil miraculously did no harm to him. He was eventually exiled to Patmos, where he died a natural death.
What is God calling you to do today? Are you ready to come meet Him when the time comes? Maybe say a prayer, that His grace will be with you when that moment comes.
God, thank You for calling us to do a little more work before the time comes to come home. Please help us use our time wisely.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Acts 11:1-30. We hear Peter tell the story of how he came to understand that God was wanting the message of salvation to be told to the gentiles as well as the Jews.
And when we hear Peter tell the story, it sounds just like the account we just read, with all the little details and everything. This brings up the fact that we need to tell our stories. We've discussed how we need to share the works that God is doing in our lives so that others can hear them and benefit from them spiritually.
But there's another reason. Telling the story reminds US, the story tellers, of God's faithfulness and how He has already worked in our lives. Remembering times when He has taken care of us gives us faith and confidence that He will continue to take care of us through whatever we're facing today.
So don't forget to tell your story. It will grow your faith.
God, thank You for giving us stories. Please help us tell them.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Today in our reading from the One Year Bible, we read from Acts 10:24-48. We read about a man named Cornelius, who met with Peter due to a vision he received while praying. He was praying in his house, as was his custom.
This brings to mind Daniel of the OT, who was framed by his enemies for going against the emperor's wishes by praying to someone besides the emperor. But Daniel continued praying just like he had every day before and after this ban was proclaimed.
This faithful habit of praying every day changes people's lives. It brought a vision to Cornelius that enabled him to meet Peter. It brought Daniel into trouble, but God saved him from that trouble and worked miracles in his life.
Do you have a daily habit of prayer? If so, ask God to meet you there. If not, ask Him to help you form this habit. It will change your life.
God, thank You for changing our lives through prayer.