Daily Devotion for March 16, 2017
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.
Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely
Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.
To Be Free of Mental Distress
Lord Jesus, I find myself sometimes filled with depression and negativity over what I see as my failures in life; shame, guilt and anxiety beset me, and I grow sorrowful that I am not more, that I have wasted opportunities in my life. I sometimes feel worthless and helpless, with unwelcome humility forced upon me.
Help me, sweet Jesus, to turn my eyes upon you. Give me the hope I need, and help me face life with the courage of faith in you. You told your disciples to be anxious for nothing. I give to you my anxiety, Lord Christ, and lay my troubles upon your mighty back; and I pick up your burden, for you have promised that it is light, and that you are gentle and kind. Let me work for your glory and not my own, putting an end to the pain of my vanity, that I may serve you in joy and peace all my days.
[“I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within.”]
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.
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.
I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within.
~ St. Augustine
Acts 2:1-11 (ESV)
When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.
Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
Notes on the Scripture
he Pentecost was, in effect, a “jump start” for the reign of the Holy Spirit. Christ had finished His mission on earth and had ascended to heaven. He promised that after he had left the world, He would leave “another Advocate” to dwell with those who believed in Him and followed His commandments. The Pentecost marks the coming of the Holy Spirit, the name by which we call the Spirit of God that remained with us after Christ had ascended.
The event itself is colorful and wonderful, a short time when everybody in the vicinity of the disciples could witness the miracle of the Holy Spirit. To them it appeared that the disciples were speaking in their native language — Egyptians heard Egyptian, Romans heard Latin, etc. You might conclude that the Holy Spirit wasn't relying on language at all, but communicated directly to the minds and souls of those present.
There is also a wonderful metaphor in this, relating back to the ancient promise that Christ would make God's grace available to all nations. The old covenant was specifically a relationship between God and the Jews; Christ brought a new covenant, that could be shared by anyone who believed in Him. If we have accepted Christ into our hearts and follow His commandments, the Holy Spirit will live within us and we can know God in a way different from how we “know” anything else. The event is the antithesis of the Tower of Babel. The pride of men, who wished to reach to the height of God, made them unable to understand one another; now, that sin of pride is overcome through grace and the Spirit, and people of every tongue can understand.