Daily Devotion Friday, July 26

Friday, July 26, 2013 – Psalm 13; 1 Samuel 31:1-13; Acts 15:12-21 and Mark 5:21-43

Acts 15:12-21 – 12The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13After they finished speaking, James replied, “My brothers, listen to me. 14Simeon has related how God first looked favorably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. 15This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written,
16  ‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen;
from its ruins I will rebuild it,
and I will set it up,
17  so that all other peoples may seek the Lord —
even all the Gentiles over whom my name has been called.
Thus says the Lord, who has been making these things 18known from long ago.’
19Therefore I have reached the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God, 20but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood. 21For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every sabbath in the synagogues.”

In the Book of the Acts of the Apostles we hear of the journey of the early church to welcome Gentiles into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. The question became would the Gentiles have to submit themselves to the sign of the old covenant, the sign of circumcision? The answer became, no, but this didn’t come easily.

During my life time we have had to deal with many issues in the church and the decisions haven’t and don’t come easily; the ordination of women, the issue of gays and lesbians and ordination. All of this doesn’t come easily to the church. Major changes often bring major conflicts within the church.

When dealing with the major issues of our day, I do look back to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles to help give me guidance. In our reading we see how they looked to God’s word to guide them and we hear how God gave revelations to the apostles. But the change didn’t come easily. It took a lot of conversation amongst the leadership of the early church. Today, changes don’t come easily. Change and conflict makes me uncomfortable, yet this is who the church has been and is.

How do you deal with change and conflict? Who and what do you look to, to help guide you as you deal with the changes going on in our world today and with the conflict that comes with it? Whom do you look to, to help guide you?

I look unto God’s word and seek to be in conversation with my colleagues in ministry. I also give thanks that we have a system where one person does not decide the church’s direction, but governing bodies; the Session, Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly made up of ministers and ordained elders from the larger church.

O God, guide us today as you did in the past as we deal with changes going on inside and outside your body, your church. Send your Holy Spirit to speak to us and through us. Amen.

Psalm 13 – 5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

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