READINGS for 2006-05-24
YOUR BETTER HALF
They were to seek God, yes, to grope for him and perhaps eventually to find him? ? Acts 17:27
I?ve read stories of identical twins that were separated while they were still young who may or may have not known they had a twin. They would recount that deep inside them, a part of them was missing. That feeling would haunt them over the years and would prod them to search for the cause of that restlessness. Eventually they would discover that they have a missing half. Some spend more than twenty years in their search until they are happily reunited.
May I live and move and have my being in You only, Lord.
Acts 17:15, 22-18:1
Paul claims elsewhere in the Scriptures that he is not a great orator, however, with the grace of the Holy Spirit to aid him I doubt that the people of Athens would believe him! They were obviously interested in what he was saying but the stumbling block seems to be the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Some believe him but many do not. Yet Paul will not compromise on the essential aspects of the Gospel even if it would make his task easier.
15 After Paul?s escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. 22 Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: ?You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ?To an Unknown God.? What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. 26 He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, 27 so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. 28 For ?In him we live and move and have our being,? as even some of your poets have said, ?For we too are his offspring.? 29 Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. 30 God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent 31 because he has established a day on which he will ?judge the world with justice? through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.? 32 When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, ?We should like to hear you on this some other time.? 33 And so Paul left them. 34 But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. 8: 1 After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.
P S A L M
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
R: Heavens and earth are full of your glory.
1 Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights; 2 Praise him, all you his angels, praise him, all you his hosts. (R)11 Let the kings of the earth and all peoples, the princes and all the judges of the earth, 12 young men too, and maidens, old men and boys. (R) 13 Praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven. (R) 14 He has lifted up the horn of his people. Be this his praise from all his faithful ones, from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia. (R)
G O S P E L
Verse 15 is one of the few verses in the Scriptures that refer to the Father, Jesus (under the pronoun ?I?) and the Holy Spirit. Here we have evidence for the Christian doctrine of the Trinity - one that would reach the fullness of its development about four centuries later at Nicea and Chalcedon. Like many of the Christian doctrines, their foundations lie in the Scriptures but they are expressed in the modern languages of their day. There is nothing wrong with this; it is just the natural development of understanding and ideas associated with our faith.
12 ?I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 13 But when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.?
God?s special verse/thought for me today________________
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 21-26
THE HUNGER BENEATH UNBELIEF
Paul spoke of the nearness of God to the Athenians. He proclaimed that God is near to those who seek him and that he does not play games. Oftentimes we look at our world and we sigh in dismay: ?It?s too hard to be a Christian today.? Some of us Christians have feared a questioning and seeking world and formed ghettos where everyone is Christian and nobody dares rock the boat. Because the non-believers questions are daunting, we stopped evangelizing. Some Christians even think that Satan is more powerful that they stop going to the movies and singing ?secular? songs lest they be defiled or worse demonized! We tend to forget that what appears on the outside is not necessarily the final world. When people seemed to have settled for less, it doesn?t mean that they?re no longer hungry for God. Paul recognized this when he looked around Athens. He must have seen the statues of Athena, Zeus and other Greek gods. If he was like some of us, he would have moved on and put Athens in the ?too hard? basket. But Paul asked the Spirit to show him the real picture. That?s when he chanced upon the altar to the unknown God. Despite all appearances to the contrary, Athens still hungered for the Living God even though they couldn?t even articulate it. This good news is for us today. People are still hungry for God. I see this in the story of the former Satanist Sean Ryan who offered his parents as a sacrifice to Satan. When he was in the pits of despair while in prison, he sought Jesus and met him. In an interview before he was executed he said: ?It is amazing to know that even though I had bloodied my hand with murder and bowed before the altar of Satan, God would still want to take me.? Scripture says:??He who earnestly seeks me
Lord, let me not be daunted in preaching You because others put on a facade of strength and contentment. Reveal to me their deep hunger for You, Father, and let your Spirit minister to them through me. Amen.
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