The Origins of a Continuing Historic Ministry (Sun. May 16)

The word of the day is “appoint.”  Today’s society believes that there always is a better way.   Invention will improve anything.  Innovation will make everything function more efficiently and easily.  However, the foundations of Holy Tradition in the church are enduring.  One of these is the church order of ordained clergy.  Today in our reading of Act 6:1-7, we read of the establishment of the order of deacons in the church. The twelve apostles said, “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint for this business [of administration and caring]”  (OSB vs.  3). Based on this model, our deacons continue to serve the church today.…

Witness Without Compromise (Sat. May 15)

The word of the day is “obey.”  In every revolution, there is a moment when the rebels defy authority.  Without the courage of some to do so, there is no change. There is only compliance. Today we find in our reading of Acts 5:21-33 that such a moment occurred when the apostles again appeared before the high priest and members of the Sadducees, the religious sect that ruled the temple.  When the high priest sternly reminded Peter that he was told to cease speaking of “this Name [of Jesus”] (OSB vs. 28), Peter was defiant.  “We ought to obey God rather than men,” he said (OSB vs. 29).  That was the decisive moment that would free the new Christian movement…

When Dishonesty Threatens Our Oneness in Christ (Fri. May 14)

The word of the day is “fear.”  We may have a rosy picture of the life of the first believers who were filled with the Holy Spirit, bold in the proclamation of the Gospel, united in a common life, and fearless in the face of arrest, imprisonment, and death.  Yet, in today’s reading of Acts 5:1-11, we hear a note of sobering realism.  Luke reports the first instance of troubles in the community.  As a divine punishment for cheating and lying, a couple fell dead at the feet of the apostles.  Luke, the writer of Acts, summarizes the somber response of the faithful, “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (OSB 5:11).…

How to Fill Spiritual Emptiness (Thurs. May 13)

The word of the day is “filled.”  Most believers go through times of spiritual emptiness.  They feel that they are in a spiritual “black hole.”  Their heart feels hollow.  They keep going but they are running on an empty tank.  Today in our reading of Acts 4:23-31, we read that the new community of believers gathered after the religious authorities had released Peter and John.  Luke then reports, “And when they had prayed… they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (NKJV vs. 3).  Today in our study of Scripture, we find a way to fill an empty heart. A Prayer for Spiritual Fullness St. Paul prays that God would grant…

Proclaiming the Word With Boldness (Wed. May 12)

The word of the day is “bold.”  Many people today have claimed the privilege of promoting their views boldly and without restraint.  Not wanting to be drawn into futile arguments, others have kept silent.  But what about the Gospel of the Resurrection?  How forthright are we in proclaiming the most important message of Christ’s work of salvation? Today in our reading of Acts 4:13-22, we hear Peter’s daring proclamation that salvation is obtainable only in the Name of the Crucified and Risen Christ (Acts 4:12).  In response, the council of religious authorities “marveled” “…when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,” though they “perceived that they [the apostles] were uneducated and untrained men” (Acts 4:13).  Today we consider what…

What Kind of Power? (Tues, May 11)

The word of the day is “power.”  Power is the dynamic ability to do something.  It is a force that produces an effect or the capacity to act upon something.  In today’s reading of Acts 4:1-10, the religious authorities arrest Peter and John for preaching the Risen Christ.  And the rulers interrogate the Apostles asking, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4;7).  Our close reading of this question will open new insight into Peter’s response to the religious authorities and the superior nature of the power of the Name of Jesus. An Important Point Missed With one exception, all the major translations of Acts miss an important point about the question of the power…

How Contemplating the Works of Salvation Can Turn Your Life Around (Mon. May 10)

The word of the day is “turn.”  We are now in the third week of the Paschal season.  How has our life changed?  Yes, the joy of Pascha has given us new hope, new inspiration, and new faith.  Yet has that joy transformed our life?  If not, then Pascha is just another turning of the wheel of the church seasons.  Unless we make purposeful and permanent changes to the way we live, next Lent, we will find ourselves in the same spiritual condition as we were last year. In today’s reading of Acts 3:19-26, Peter concludes his sermon in Solomon’s Porch with the “words of life” that God has sent “His Servant Jesus” to “bless you in turning away everyone…

Nothing More Important Than the Word of Eternal Life (Sun. May 9)

The word of the day is “word.”  What is the main thing?  Often what is most important gets lost in the swirl of things that are less significant.  Today in our reading of Acts 5:12-20, we find that “many signs and wonders” are taking place as the believers meet in the temple (Acts 5:12).  Yet, what was the point?  Luke, the writer of Acts, records that the angel instructed the apostles about the main thing when he released them from prison.  The angel said, “Go, stand in the temple, and speak to the people all the words of this life” (OSB 5:20).  The important thing was not the spectacular miracles taking place and not even the healings of sick and…

The Power of “Faith in His Name” (Sat. May 8)

Christ is Risen! The word of the day is “name.”  Whenever someone does something outside the expectations of normal behavior, people are bound to ask, “Where did he or she  get this?”  Today in our reading of Acts 3:11-16, Peter and John explain the healing of the lame man in the Temple to the astonished onlookers. Peter claims the source of the miracle is the Prince of Life, whom God raised from the dead (OSB vs. 16).  He says, “And His name, by faith in His name, has made the man strong whom you  see and know” (OSB vs. 16). What the Name Represents What is in the “name”?  The name represents all that the Lord is.  To do something…

Enthusiasm That Is Not Dampened (Fri. May 7)

Christ is Risen! The word of the day is “leaping.”  The one thing about power that we can count on is that it will fade. The law of inertia says that a body will stay moving in a straight line unless some force acts on it.  But such forces as gravity, friction, and opposing forces will slow an object down. Time Erodes Enthusiasm–Usually So we might expect that the power of the resurrection to move people to faith and hope would eventually weaken.  The wear and tear of time, opposition, competing claims and interests, and the resistance of the devil would dampen the enthusiasm of the new movement of believers. But consider our reading of Acts 3:1-11.  In this passage,…