Daily Devotion for May 30, 2011
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.
We don't do much contemporary gospel music, but this piece from Yolanda Adams is inspiring. "There is no pain, Jesus can't feel. There is no hurt, that He cannot heal."
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of thy law, so that we might know our sin, and thy Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
And whoever spreads slander is a fool.
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Acts 7:53-60 (Good News)
The Stoning of Stephen
As the members of the Council listened to Stephen, they became furious and ground their teeth at him in anger. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God's glory and Jesus standing at the right side of God.
"Look!" he said. "I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!"
With a loud cry the Council members covered their ears with their hands. Then they all rushed at him at once, threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses left their cloaks in the care of a young man named Saul. They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"
He knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!" He said this and died.
Notes on the Scripture
As we reach the end of the terrible story of Stephen, the parallel to the life and crucifixion of Jesus becomes clear. In Acts 6, he was seized for heresy and dragged before the Sanhedrin. All of the long Chapter 7 recounts his defense. He has followed the Hebrews from Abraham to David, to show that their history was a preparation for the coming of a Messiah. He then accused the Sanhedrin, made up of the mightiest and highest-ranking religious authorities of Judea, of killing God, just as the wicked had killed prophets throughout their history.
Even worse, he strongly implied that the Temple itself was no longer a holy place, that God did not dwell in it. And he stated that the men in charge of it, those judging him, did not have God in their hearts.
Finally, he tells them that he sees Christ (whom they have recently crucified) and that He stands "at the right hand of God". At this, the high priests break. It is such a terrible accusation that they cannot even listen to it. They cover their ears and, as they did with Christ, execute him immediately.
Stephen has become the first great Christian martyr. In all Christendom, he is studied as the great model of Christian virtue, a model for many to come; in the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and the more liturgical Protestant communions, he is venerated as a saint.
Do not miss the reference to a young minion named Saul, who holds the high priests cloaks while they rush out to kill Stephen. We shall see a great deal more of him shortly!