Monday, March 15, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 3/15/10

Saints Peter and John Healing
the Lame Man, Nicolas Poussin, 1655

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:10-12

“Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

Miracles had been performed at the hands of the disciples, yet, by their own admissions the power did not rest in their hands. For thought they had performed great works, though they had healed the sick and given hope to those afflicted, though they had brought new life to those who lived amidst destitution, believing that somehow their lives had passed them by and ended without them having ever died, they could not claim the authority as coming from themselves.

“Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

Dragged before the Sanhedrin to give an account of the works they had done, Peter and John stood in front of the accusing eyes of that ruling council knowing the thoughts that ran through their minds. How could they not? They had been subjected to them time and time again, over and over again as they felt challenges and adversity heaped upon their shoulders. Yet even as the stares were upon them, even as they had to feel the temporal might of these men sitting in their judgment seats bear down heavily on them, they could not escape the solid profession of their faith. Come what may, come what must, they would stand firm in the grace that had saved them and the grace that worked through them to save others.

“Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

The power of Christ compelled them. It was He who made the lame man walk, the blind man see, the mute speak and the deaf hear. It was He who, through healing, brought about a new hope to those who found the despair of this world heaped upon then, burdening them like a yoke as the troubles they found followed them wherever it was that they went. It was He who brought freedom to the captives as He ransomed even the most lost and the most fallen of souls, whispering unto them the blessed assurances of the Lord that they might know they would never be failed or forsaken, whatever the world would foist upon them as it sought so desperately to break them.

“Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

There would be no challenge, there would be no adversity, there would be no bondage or slavery that could separate the people of God from the love of God through the power of Christ Jesus in the transcending, encompassing miracle of His love. The weak would be given strength, the broken would be healed, the wounded would be mended, the chains that bound would be shattered, for hope would enter into this world. For all those who believed on His name there was an understanding, one that told unto them that nothing could stand against them, for if the grave no longer had any power over them as sin was cast off of them than what force could come in this world that would so shatter the peace and the comfort that they found in the cross?

They would believe and they would be made whole…

But then faith is more than a miracle, it is a life that is lived, and a hope that uplifts and elevates in even the most trying of times, even the moments of the deepest of struggles and the harshest of adversity. It is a guiding light that leads us through a world of trouble to the safe shores of love, mercy, and compassion as we come to dwell, as we come to rest in the green pastures of God’s grace. It is the wondrous assurance of the deepest blessings of our Heavenly Father’s plan for our lives and it weaves through our souls in the most amazing of ways to show us that, when we stand with the Lord, there is nothing that can stand against us.

Throughout this world though there are those who would seek to rob the children of God from that Heavenly inheritance through our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. They work their evil ways bringing wickedness and iniquity into this world in the most significant of ways, in the most soul crushing of ways as they take the hope from our lives and they try to crush it under their heel. In the end those who are trapped in their way are broken and wounded, left with nothing more than the darkness and the despair that has been shoveled on to them as they so desperately to cling to something, anything to believe in but find that their grim estate has placed a veil over their eyes as they are left with nothing but this deep feeling of lost and this transcending sense of anguish that crushes them.

This is why our solid profession must be the same as that of Peter and John, it is why our testimony has to be the same as that of those two disciples standing before the Sanhedrin, knowing that persecution and oppression, that subjugation and sorrow were so near at hand. Before those persecuted and those persecuting, before those who are hostages and those who take hostages, before who are captive and enslaved and those who take captives and so enslave the hearts and the souls, the bodies and the minds of men our testimony has to remain the same as it escapes our lips with the victorious cry of Christ moved in us as the Spirit compels us to stand strong in the deepest of understandings of God’s love.

“Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

The Lord shall move through this world and in this world and He shall stand firm with the cause of the poor and the afflicted, with those suffering and those who find themselves lost amidst the pain that can be brought to bear against them. He shall stand with them, contending with their cause, bringing healing and hope into their lives. The Lord moves to make the broken whole and the weak strong as He guides the lives of His people from the darkness that would so overtake them to the light of His love as comfort and peace that had once seemed so elusive now finds a resting place in their lives.

It is ours then, like those disciples of ancient days to go forth into the world to proclaim that love and to bring it to bear in the lives of those who are in such desperate need of it. It is ours to take up the cross and to declare that the mercy and grace, the compassion and the hope of our Lord shall always and forever be the star by which we are lead from the rocky waters to the places of healing that we had never thought possible. It is to declare the miracles of God’s love that all shall be reminded that, even in the most trying of days, as trials and tribulation rest before them, there is a Heavenly Father who contends with their cause and pours forth wonders in their lives to carry them from the places where they are to the places where they need to be.

To do so is to rest on the authority of the Lord while being used by the Spirit to do great and wondrous works in this world in the love that Christ has intended for us to show unto one another. It is then that we can truly call ourselves his followers, his disciples as we do all that we can to imitate him through all of the days of our lives as we struggle for the cause of the poor and the afflicted, the captives and the slaves all around us.

Lord, grant this unto us all.

In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen…

First Prayer:

Call us, lead us O Lord to rest in the shelter of Your wings, carry us that we may rest upon the rock of Your refuge that hope and peace shall follow us through all the days of our lives.

Lord, from whom all miracles flow, in whom even the most lost is found and the most broken is healed, we bow in prayers of humble supplication, seeking Your wondrous grace for the lives of Your people.

It was through You, as Your mercy came to bear through this world and in this world, that the 2 French aid workers kidnapped in the Central African Republic were released. You lifted Your hand to their plight as the struggle laid before them and adversity and anguish were lifted from their path to give them a way once more home. They now may find the healing that comes by Your wondrous hand in their lives as they seek to put back together all that wickedness and iniquity sought to shatter in their lives.

Yet Lord there are those who still suffer under the terrible weight of captivity and bondage. Their names sometimes go unknown and their struggles rest heavy on their hearts. For them do we pray, lifting them high to You that You may know their faces and hear their cries and set them free according to the promises of Your Word. Let them not find that their lives are held in such darkness forever but move in their lives to bring them to the transcending hope of Your wondrous healing. All that they might once more find rest and peace, comfort and hope in their lives.

Then shall we all come to lay down in Your green pastures of hope, knowing that we have found rest in the shelter of the most High as He pours forth His love in the lives of His people.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

From our hearts shall we raise up the cry, You, O Lord, are our hope and our refugee, our ever present help in all dangers and struggles. Stand then beside Your children, forever moving in our lives as You guide us from the darkness to the light, making us whole where we were broken, healing us where we have been so hurt by the forces of this temporal plane.

Let not Your people walk in terror of the night, let not Your people find that the darkness of this world is upon them. Where captivity reigns and slavery comes so easily to the hearts and the minds of men let Your mercy transcend the power of the wicked and the authority of the unrighteous as You hear the names of all who are taken by bondage and cast to the pits of despair.

Be near to those who struggle and suffer as the chains are upon them, hold them close to You and, in Your time, break all that binds them, setting them free from the forces of this world’s sin.

Show forth Your love and let not destitution, anguish, intolerance, hatred, pain and suffering bind them to sorrow.

Show forth Your love and bring liberty to bear in their lives as You set them free according to the wondrous care of Your hand.

Show forth Your mercy and heal them O Lord…

Let them come before You, pull them close to You and give them rest from all of their weary plights and encompassing struggles that overtake them.

Then shall all praise the wondrous glories of Your transcending hope as it is seen in the miracles that it shall forever work in this world.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

No comments: