Daily Devotion for June 14, 2014
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.
Saturday is Oldies Day. Today we have a sweet Christian song which was a surprising pop hit for Kris Kristofferson in 1973, and became the best-selling song of his career.
What have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I've known?
Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth loving You
Or the kindness You've shown?
Lord help me Jesus, I've wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am.
Now that I know that I've needed You so
Help me Jesus, my soul's in your hand.
Tell me Lord, if you think there's a way
I can try to repay
All I've taken from you.
Maybe Lord, I can show someone else
What I've been through myself On my way back to you.
Words and Music by Kris Kristofferson
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To Be Led by God’s Gifts
Heavenly Father, for the words of faith shared in devotionals, from the pulpit, in the sanctuary, in prayer, in song, that color my life so rich: I give thanks, and pray that they will enrich my journey of faith, sharing a bit of grace with other earlier saints.
For the sacrifice, the example, the gift of your Son; who came to earth and lived among us, who gave us words to guide us, who infused the law with Spirit and taught us the beauty of change within our hearts; for the loving way Christ showed us, I give thanks, and pray that His words may lead me to live life as your servant, as your disciple, today and forever.
[May the words of Christ lead me to life as Your servant.]
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
Acts 1:7-8, 2:1-4, 2:38, 4:32-33 (NASB)
[The Resurrected Jesus] said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
* * *
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
* * *
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
* * *
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles gave testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
Notes on the Scripture
Overview of the New Testament: (5) Acts of the Apostles
The Gospel of Luke is unique. It is a two-volume work, the second volume of which has been named Acts of the Apostles. While this name is descriptive, it misleads the new reader about the nature of the work. There are actually five gospels, not four. (Or, alternatively, one might say that there are four gospels but one of them is divided into two parts, Luke and Acts.) Acts begins with the last teachings and works of Christ, and then goes on to narrate the work of the Holy Spirit; in fact, many call it “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit”.
Acts itself divides naturally into two parts. Chapters 1-12 primarily relate the events in Jerusalem and Judea in the days following Christ's Ascension. The great event in these chapters is the Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to indwell the apostles and other disciples, as Christ had promised. The effect upon those receiving the Spirit is profound. About 120 hard-core believers were huddled in hiding, meeting only in the famous “upper room”, fearful of arrest and possible execution by the Sanhedrin. After the dramatic events of Pentecost, their attitude “did a 180”. They became as bold as Christ, preaching His message in the Temple itself, healing the sick, and when they were arrested, speaking fearlessly to the High Priest and other Sanhedrin members.
The martyrdom of the first of them, a man named Stephen (not one of the 12 apostles), is remarkable for his utter fearlessness. It is described in detail, spanning most of Chapter 6 and all of Chapter 7; and his final words, as he is stoned by the Sanhedrin, are “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”
We are also given a picture of the very early church (which does not look much like the church today). The believers were entirely dedicated to Christ and lived in common. A number of interesting stories are told in these chapters, about the life of these first Christians and the spread of the Gospel in Palestine.
We are introduced to Paul (Saul) in the first part of Acts, including the history of his conversion and calling in the first half of Chapter 9. But in Chapter 13-28, Acts focuses almost entirely upon him. A new church is founded outside of Judea, in the great city of Antioch (Syria) just to the north, and the spread of Christianity to the Gentiles begins in earnest. Paul made four journeys, primarily in areas lying within modern-dayTurkey and Greece. The first three were true missionary journeys, where he established and built up many new churches, and the accounts of his travels are colorful and detailed.
The final journey, which includes his shipwreck on the island of Malta, was not a missionary journey, as he was in chains, being transported to Rome for trial. Acts ends with Paul being under house arrest in Rome for two years; and this is the last we know of him, from the Bible.