Day 177 – June 26

Today’s Readings:

2 Chronicles 3-4
Acts 8:1-25
Job 21

…when Simon (the magician) saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! . – Acts 8:18-20

In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the church is starting spread out because of the persecutions taking place in Jerusalem. How, what is intended for evil actually brings about good, because disciples like Philip are taking their love for Jesus with them as they disperse, bringing the good news that they cannot keep for themselves. They went forth with the power of the Holy Spirit in them and worked many signs through prayer, that even Simon the magician was converted.

But Simon also shows us that even in the Church we can have misunderstandings of how to obtain power. It isn’t something earned, or something we can purchase with good works. The gifts of the spirit are just that, gifts, freely given for us to use for God’s glory.

Let us seek to do God’s will using our gifts. Not for our glory, or power, but that God and His love may be revealed to the world.

May God bless you.

Day 178 – June 27

Today’s Readings:

2 Chronicles 5-6
Acts 8:26-40
Job 22

“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin when You afflict them; 27 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel…” – 2 Chronicles 6:26-27

Notation: in the audio, King David is mentioned as the one praying for the people; it is in fact his son, King Solomon, in the dedication of the temple.

May God bless you.

Day 176 – June 25

Today’s Readings:

2 Chronicles 1-2
Acts 7:44-60
Job 20

When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. – Acts 7:58

Today we witness the first recorded martyrdom in the Church, and the reality of the life of the Christian faithful. Stephen is brought to trial because he makes the Jews uncomfortable in their living the Law. Stephen’s authentic living of faith and his bold proclamation of Jesus is too much for them, and they find reason to kill him. Here, at Stephen’s death, another man enters the picture. Saul, a zealous Jew, is to rise to be one of the great persecutors of the Christians, until He is confronted with Jesus.

Stephen’s death was senseless, and so seems to suffering of Job. Again we see God working his tapestry from the underside, the picture of His masterpiece hidden in the confusion of our daily life. Let us offer our lives like Stephen, trusting that God will use our small sacrifice to the benefit of His masterwork.

May God bless you.

Day 175 – June 24

Today’s Readings:

1 Chronicles 27-28
Acts 7:22-43
Job 19

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. – Job 19:25

Job protests the treatment he receives from his so called ‘friends’, and despite what he describes as an abandonment by God, he still testifies to his faith in God as the one who redeems.

To ‘redeem’ is to buy back, or to make up for the lack or wrong-doing of a person. We hear today Stephen, in the Book of Acts, telling of the sin of the people Israel, who chose to reject God and the consequences of that choice. And yet, despite the times when we too reject God, he waits in the wings for us to turn back to Him that we may be saved.

Job understood this. He placed all of his hope in that future event – the one we know all too well when we look upon the Cross of Christ – that even in the misery of Job’s current state, he would be at peace because God promised to redeem him and his people. May we have the patience of Job, and his faith, to approach the setbacks of life with courage, putting all of our trust in our future – a future bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God bless you.

Day 174 – June 23

Today’s Readings:

1 Chronicles 25-26
Acts 7:1-21
Job 18

“Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked,
And this is the place of him who does not know God.” – Job 18:21

These words from Job are an accusal that would apply to two innocent, both Job and Stephen (from the Acts 7). Both men seem to be on trial for their faith that is misunderstood by their fellow believers. We’ve looked at Job before at how we only see the surface of his situation, God has allowed this calamity to befall his favorite son among men, and how Job is judged a sinner because of the devestation in his personal life. Then we have Stephen, a follower of Jesus, one of the seven deacons chosen in the early organization of the Church. Stephen was brought up against charges of blasphemy, probably due to jealousy, and brought false witnesses against him.

Two men, both condemned by their own people. The first due to misreading of the mystery of suffering judge their friend a sinner; the second propped up for a fall because his righteousness made others look ridiculous in their religiosity. And how do these two men respond? They cling to God come what may.

Many times we see opportunities to defend faith, and shy away because we don’t want to get entangled or lose friendships over a discrepancy of faith. Let us learn to choose when it is necessary to speak, and when it is prudent to refrain, not for our own sake, but for the good of the soul before us. May our Lord help us to know the difference.

May God bless you.