Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to
this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall
into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to
the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no
secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the
inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and
worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 51, Deuteronomy 28:58-29:1, and Acts 7:17-29
Stephen, defending himself before the Sanhedrin, is recalling how God
worked through Abraham and Moses. He gave a quick overview of the story
of the Exodus, highlighting God’s role in Israel’s salvation. Although
his listeners knew the story well, Stephen was trying to make a point:
That Jesus was the promise of whom their forefathers had dreamed for so
very long. Jesus was the one who was sent to bring them into full
covenant relationship with God. Yet the religious authorities had
rejected and killed him. With that, they all put their fingers in their
ears, took Stephen outside the city, and stoned him.
are occasionally guilty of stoning the one who tells us the ugly
truth. Even though we claim to be Christ-followers, we still get stuck
in our own ways, and sometimes God will send someone to tell us what we
need to change. We have a choice: We can choose to hear God and change
our ways, or we can choose to reject what the person is saying. While
we may not physically throw rocks at them, we can stone people with our
words. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words
will never hurt me” is patently false. Words do hurt, and hurt very
bad. One sentence can erase years of hard work, ripping away someone’s
self confidence and positive image.
point is that God works through the lives of people, whether they
realize it or not, to affect many people. Abraham never saw God’s
promise come to fruit, but he was still faithful. He never saw Israel
as a huge nation of people, yet he still followed God. Moses never saw
the full promise, either – he led the people to the entrance of Canaan,
but he could not enter in and never saw them living in their newly-won
because you don’t see the results doesn’t mean it’s not doing good.
Sure, there should be some signs that you’re going in the right
direction. You should be able to see short-term results. Sometimes,
though, God will send you to do something that has far greater results
than what you can see. Abraham knew he was successful because God
blessed him and made him rich, but Abraham didn’t see the full payment
for his faithfulness. Moses saw results in the giving of the law and
getting the people through the wilderness to the entrance of the
promised land, but he didn’t see the full payment for his faithfulness.
Some results are necessary, because they help us see we’re going in the
right direction, but some of the effects won’t be seen for many years.
get discouraged when you don’t see the full effects of what God wants
you to do. Don’t get discouraged when it seems that the larger promise
hasn’t come true yet. Don’t let yourself get lost in the short-term,
either with no results or with the wrong results. Follow God in
obedience and he will make sure it all ends up the way it should.
some time to pray about this. Ask God to use you. Ask him to give you
the faith to hear and follow him and the grace to carry out his
commands. Write your own prayer.