Daily Archives: May 21, 2021

Evening Prayer: May 21st

Sovereign One, the journey today has taken many turns. But thankfully you have been with me through the easy passage as well as the twists and turns. I thank you for the grace you have shown in those moments when I have failed. Your forgiveness, like the night, has blanketed me and now gives me peace. Now as this day draws to a close, surround me with your heavenly hosts and defend my sleep from the enemy. Renew my heart for your service tomorrow. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.

Thoughts to Ponder from Acts 25:13-21

Acts 25:13-21 (ESV)

Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice

13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14 And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, 15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17 So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. 19 Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”

“They had some issues with…a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive” (Acts 25:19).

If someone “can’t see the forest for the trees,” it means they are so involved in the details of a problem that they can’t see the situation as a whole. Well, if anyone could get caught up in the “trees” of the situation, it was Paul. He had been accused by some of the Jewish leaders of stirring up riots and desecrating the Temple. Arrested and put in jail, he spent two years in custody under Festus facing the same charges. You can imagine all the details of his situation swirling in his mind day after day while he sat in prison.

But Paul had built his life on Jesus, so the “trees” didn’t overshadow his vision. As he strove to stay close to the Lord, he was able to see beyond the details of his trials. He saw God’s faithfulness and protection. He experienced Jesus’ love and mercy. He saw his captors as being in the dark about Jesus, just as he had been, so he avoided hating them. He saw all the people who had never heard the gospel and longed to share it with them.

Our lives may be filled with the “trees” of trials – or maybe just the “trees” of a busy schedule and concerns about our loved ones. But like Paul, we can learn how to see the whole forest.

So what is this forest? It’s the expansive heavenly vision that the Holy Spirit wants to give us. It’s remembering that our world is filled with God’s wonders and marvels. It’s remember that every act of love reveals another facet of our gracious, creative God. It’s the ability to enjoy the blessings of family and home that we do have rather than focusing on the things we may be lacking. It’s the decision to love our church, even though we can see room for improvement.

Don’t get caught up in the details! Don’t let the “trees” wear you down! Let God fill you with his panoramic vision. Make it a point every day to stand back and rejoice in all the blessings that Jesus has given you.

Jesus, open my eyes to see the work you have already done in my life. You never let go of me, even for a moment. Help me to trust in you today. Amen.

wau


Daily Scripture Passage: Ephesians 1:7-8

Ephesians 1.7-8