I don’t know if you have noticed, but over the last several weeks, I have used pictures of the stained-glass windows from our church in the daily devotional. They each have a specific meaning. Jim Lawton researched these windows and then compiled what he found in a book titled The Windows of First Presbyterian Church, Sharpsville Pennsylvania. There are a few copies lying around. The meaning behind the current image comes from Ephesians 6:10-11. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; Father help us today to glorify you in all that we do Lift up the brokenhearted, guide those in leadership, Protect our healthcare workers, and those that serve. may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen MEDITATION Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. (Psalm 25:5 NIV)
When I was little (back in the late 70’s early 80’s) every summer we used to try to catch the fluffy milkweed seeds that drifted by on the breeze. We called them “wishies” and if you caught one you made a wish. For years, I wished for (wait for it…) a Baby Alive doll. They ate and they wet, they came with diapers and baby food and I wanted one. Later I graduated to wishing for a horse. We have all wanted something and wished for it. We want this pandemic to end but milkweed seeds are not going to do it, and neither will wishing. Times like this call for trusting God in spite of the circumstances. But how do we know that we can trust God? This is where knowing God’s Word comes into play. The Bible is a series of stories of people having to trust God in spite of the circumstances: Do you want a baby but you are a 100 years old? Have you been swallowed by a whale? Is your brother dead? These folks are not candidates for hope by the standards of logic, but by trusting in God, their hopes were satisfied. Praying is not wishing, though sadly many don’t know the difference. Wishing is like gambling, while praying is like asking a beloved parent for help; which scenario would you rather place your hope? The psalm above, written by David, was a heartfelt call to God and I guarantee if you ask God to, “Show you His ways, teach you His paths and Guide you in His truth and teach you.” He WILL answer you. You don’t have to wish that you knew the Bible or God better, ask and trust that He will answer you, because HE loves YOU! Just be prepared for His response, which (like any good parent’s) will likely require you to listen and ACT.
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING
Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-2-kings/ for an overview of the book of 1st and 2nd Kings and https://bibleproject.com/explore/acts/ for an overview of the book of Acts. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. 2 Kings 3:1-4:37 So, there are a number of issues in our text these days. Like the fact that Elisha will call a harpist, and while the harpist was playing the hand of the Lord will come upon him. Interesting. We see Elisha respond to a woman’s request by providing her with an abundance of oil. And then there is the story of the Shunammite’s son being restored to life. What do we do with passages like this? We try to understand Elisha, but what we should do, is look for God. In the midst of this text, that's who we will find. We see His provision for Israel, Judah and Edom, in supplying them with water and victory against the Moabites. We see God using a faithful prophet like Elijah, whose prophecy will come true. We find God’s provision for the widow and the Shunammite woman. It is God working through Elisha, in a particular moment in time, that we are seeing. The glory must go to God. 2 Kings 4:38-6:23 Again, more examples of God working through Elisha. What is proclaimed at the end of 4:44? Are these tasks about Elisha or more so about God? In the gospels, Jesus will perform similar tasks. Who will Jesus glorify through his miracles? 2 Kings 6:24-8:15 And yet again, we see this idea that it is God who is the one working through Elisha. Re-read 7:16. When amazing things happen in our lives, or in the life of the church, who do we give thanks to? Do we want to lift up the pastor? These Old Testament stories remind us, exactly who is in control. Giving thanks to God is such an important part of our lives. Acts 21:1-26 Paul’s trust in the Lord, to the point of death, amazes me. Do we trust God with anything near the faith that Paul had? Do we put our faith in Jesus' resurrection? When Paul will arrive at Jerusalem, what is the concern that is being raised? (21) What is the expectation for Gentile believers in contrast to Jewish? (25) Why is there a difference? Acts 21:27-22:21 Paul will be seized in Jerusalem, as the prophet Agabus foretold. As Paul speaks to the crowds, what is the last thing he will say to them? (21) How do you think they will respond to this? Let’s keep reading to see. Acts 22:22-23:11 So again, how do the crowds respond? The question I think we need to ask is whether or not these crowds had come to put their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Re-read 21:27. What do you think? (Through our reading for today, it seems that they had not.) Does this change your understanding of what was happening? As followers of Christ, when someone, anyone, puts their faith in Jesus, how do we respond? Psalm 78:56-72 Israel will rebel against God. As we wrap up psalm 78 today, Asaph is remembering the stories found in the book of Judges. There is a phrase that is repeated throughout the book of Judges. Do you remember what it was? (Judges 2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1) It won’t be until David is established as king that will things change. Why do you think Asaph is reminding Israel of this part of their history? Psalm 79:1-13 As we wrapped up psalm 78 I asked, “Why do you think Asaph is reminding Israel of this part of their history?” How does this question fit into psalm 79? Look at verse 8 in particular.