Friday, August 21, 2015

Prayer - Lord when you change things in my life and call me into a “new normal” let me ready to seek your wisdom and start over. Amen

Act 1:12-26 NASB - "12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, 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. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. 15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 "For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry." 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; and, 'LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.' 21 "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us-- 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us--one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles."

Reflection - Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8

The disciples have been called upon to pray and wait for the fulfillment of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power upon the entire church.  They were totally given to total focus and attention to prayer.
Clearly as Peter was praying the Holy Spirit led him to meditate on some passages from the Psalms and apply them to the current situation.  Not only had they witnessed the torturous death of their Lord the Messiah Jesus and HIS awesome resurrection; but they had to deal with the reality that one of their closest friends in their fellowship with Messiah Jesus had betrayed HIM and then committed suicide. 

This is someone they had eaten every meal with for three years and had spent countless hours talking and doing common tasks with.  Judas had been in their inner circle of friends and yet they wonder now if they ever knew him.  His loss also changed their organizational and relationship balance.  They were use to being twelve. 

Peter now breaks into the time of prayer with an answer for wisdom of what to do in these sad circumstances.  He first places all that has happened with Judas into the context of God’s sovereign plan and prophetic wisdom.  This is not the first time when those entrusted by the Lord have betrayed HIM and so it is a problem that has had to be faced before by the community of the faithful.  He quotes Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8 by memory and applies them to their current loss of the Apostle Judas.  

Then in an action in which they first strive to find the best people for the ministry they ultimately demonstrate their dependance upon God’s response to prayer with sovereign power by using the process of casting lots to determine the outcome.  In this way they see the LORD choosing Matthias to replace Judas and not merely choosing someone based on their own desires.  They are striving to practically apply their faith that the Lord answers their prayers and depend on HIM to guide them. 

Apply -  How could I see this day as part of God’s plan and purpose for my life?  What passage of scripture relate to what I have to face today in my daily routine or at this stage of my life?  How could I demonstrate a trust in God’s control over my choices and decisions?  When was the last time that I was totally devoted to prayer for an hour or a day?  What could I do to increase my passion to pray?  When horrible things happen in my life and among my friends, how do I react?  Do I look to see God in the middle of the messy and hurtful relationships in my life or do I have a habit of handling it without any reference or relationship to the LORD?

Prayer:  Lord, help me see that even when I am betrayed and abused you are at work for ultimate good.  Give me wisdom to seek you at such times and ask for wisdom to understand how my pain will be used by you for gain.  Help me b open to accepting the “new normal” that has to follow times of loss and death.  Give me faith in this “new normal” and see it as another chapter in a book you have written for me even in the midst of sadness and loss.  Amen

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