Psalm 48:9–14. 9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
My reflection in prayer:
On this Monday morning I thank you for Sunday morning, I thank you for church family, I thank you for corporate worship. I was encouraged walking the walls and hearing the praise, the fellowship, the teaching. We raise our hearts with the psalmist and echo the thought. “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” At the same time I confess my recurring ability to confuse your plans with mine. How often do I ask you to follow me? Or worst how often do I just assume You aren’t watching. How often is my thing, my thing and not our thing. Remembering how back in the day you could get the newspaper only on Sunday if you wanted. Am I a Sunday only Christian? Remind me often to turn to Jesus and to meditate on your unfailing love. Make me an everyday Christian. Amen.
From Tim Keller’s book; “Songs of Jesus”
GUIDE TO THE END. Jesus is the true temple (John 2:21), and when we unite with him by faith we receive his Spirit and become a living temple in which God dwells (Ephesians 2:19–22). When Christians “count [Zion’s] towers,” they thank God for the church and joyfully wonder at what they have become in Christ. When they “tell of them to the next generation,” they show inquirers the way of salvation through Jesus. And the Lord is “our guide even to the end” (verse 14). The end of what? There are many endings in life, the greatest one being death. Its mystery and terror are made bearable by the knowledge that Jesus will be with us, into death and out the other side.
Prayer: Lord, I need to be melted by spiritual understanding of the greatness of what we have become in you. We are your flock, your dwelling, your body, your kingdom, your people, your love. Teach me how to love your church and fully participate in its life and mission. Amen.
Day # 5
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
‘Let another take his office.’
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.
Father, I am comforted when I am reminded that you know the hearts of all people and that you are sovereign over all our leaders. Thank you for our church leaders; help us remember to pray for them often and to serve them even as they serve us. Bless them and guard them from the enemy. Please raise up more leaders; your flock is great and your shepherds few. Establish the order of your body, the Church, with humility, truth, and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Excerpt From: Stranathan, Valerie. “Acts Devotional Guide, Volume 1.”
Prepping 4 Sermon Day #4
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
My King of Kings, you would not have it that your kingdom should be divided, for how then could your kingdom stand? But you hold all things together, including the church by the word of your power! The ultimate unity of your church does not rest in our hands, but in yours, and we are privileged with the opportunity to do your work.
We are not ignorant of the Devil’s designs; we despise our pride and bitterness which cause so much self-destruction and division. Humble us, Father. Teach us to forgive one another as you forgive us. Help us devote ourselves to prayer together more often, just as the disciples did in the upper room as they waited for your Spirit. We are comforted by the prayers of Jesus and find promise of unity in his love for us. Thank you. Amen.
Excerpt From: Stranathan, Valerie. Acts Devotional Guide
your waves and surging tides sweep over me
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
My dear Jesus, you ascended into heaven before many eyes and sat down on the right hand of Majesty where you rule the world with sovereign grace. Still your presence is near to us in your Spirit, and we wait eagerly for your return. Kindle our hopes, preserve our patience, and stimulate our hearts to proclaim your gospel around us, so that when you come back you will see your servants working and not being idle. Excite our hearts with your imminent return and help us prepare the world, for you are making all things new. Come Lord Jesus. Amen. Excerpt From: Stranathan, Valerie. “Acts Devotional Guide”