Daily Archives: April 17, 2021

Evening Prayer: April 16th

Gracious God, you have stretched out the heavens like a curtain; you have ordered the change of the seasons and appointed the light to rule the day and night. O God, I know it was your strength and comfort of your love that brought me through this day. Thank you for being right there when I needed you. As I sleep, keep me safe from the snares of the evil one, and bring me and all those I love to that perfect rest in you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: Psalm 33

Psalm 33 (ESV)

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

33 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

Thoughts to Ponder from Acts 6:1-7

Acts 6:1-7 (ESV)

Seven Chosen to Serve

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

“They presented these men to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands on them” (Acts 6:6)

If we were to read just this one verse, we might imagine that the apostles were praying over a group of extra-spiritual men as preparation for a heroic missionary journey. But these men were being commissioned just to take care of a neglected group within the Church. They weren’t “going out” into the world at all. So what do you suppose is going on here?

Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, he promised his disciples that they would “receive power” when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8). We might think this promise was meant only for the apostles, the twelve men Jesus had handpicked to lead the Church after he was gone. Evidently, that’s not the case. The gift of the Spirit is meant for everyone.

This may seem like an obvious statement, but there is a truth behind it that can stagger the imagination. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in him because he sees each and every person as precious. He looks upon every one of us as worthy of becoming a vessel of his grace. Age, gender, race, education, background – none of that matters to the Lord. No matter who we are, no matter what our role in this world is, the Holy Spirit can shine through us.

Before he ascended, Jesus also asked the disciples to “wait” for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4). He had a plan, and the time had not yet come. These seven newly commissioned table waiters were part of Jesus’ plan as well. They stepped into their new role at a time when the apostles were struggling with the challenge of inclusiveness: would the “Hellenists” (believers who did not come from Jerusalem) be treated as equals to the “Hebrews” (those who came from the holy city)? Similarly, God has a plan for you – but the time may not be right. That doesn’t mean you should do nothing. Stay close to him. Keep doing all the good you know you should do. Over time, you’ll find yourself becoming a brighter and brighter vessel for the light of Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the gift of your Spirit. Thank you too for your perfect plan and perfect timing in my life. Amen.