Great Plains Daily Devotional for 5/12/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Sergio Tristan
Coordinator of Lay Pastoral Team, Concordia & Chajari Argentina
Wichita East District
Molly Just
Director of Discipleship / Campus Minister, Southwestern College
Wichita East District
James Smith
Friends University, Professor and Chair of Dept of Religion
Wichita East District
Junius Dotson
General Secretary/CEO, Discipleship Ministries
Wichita East District

Today's Lectionary Text

Acts 7:54-60 

Once the council members heard these words, they were enraged and began to grind their teeth at Stephen. But Stephen, enabled by the Holy Spirit, stared into heaven and saw God’s majesty and Jesus standing at God’s right side. He exclaimed, “Look! I can see heaven on display and the Human One standing at God’s right side!” At this, they shrieked and covered their ears. Together, they charged at him, threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses placed their coats in the care of a young man named Saul. As they battered him with stones, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, accept my life!” Falling to his knees, he shouted, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!” Then he died.

Today's Devotional

During the early 1990’s, there was a youth ministry program circling around which provided scripts for a court program for defending your faith.  My youth council wanted to do it, so I finally said ok to them.  They took the script, divided up the parts, and begin to work in groups to add to each side of the arguments.  Since they were going all out in planning and were excited about this, I spoke to a Judge in our congregation about obtaining the courthouse for our MYF program.  He secured it and got lawyers to play either the defense or plaintiff. Those kids had a ball!  Some were convicted for their faith sentenced to a “stoning”, some didn’t have enough evidence for conviction, so they were set free, and some just didn’t care where they stood so the judge had them carried away.  The lawyers and the judge were great in playing their roles, they had done their homework too. 

At the end of the program, we looked at Stephen’s story in Acts 7. Our time of meditation was focused on Acts 7:60, Falling to his knees, he shouted, Lord, don’t hold this sin against them! After that, the judge had those convicted to come up to the desk in front of him.  He asked them, based on our scripture we just studied, how does it make you feel knowing Stephen really was stoned for believing? There were some heads hanging low. I brought the entire group together and said to them, “while we have been playing here tonight, I just want us to think about how we are all persecuted daily because of our faith.  I told them that while we cannot change others, it is up to us to on how we will behave in times of being persecuted for believing in Christ.”  Then the big question to them, “Instead of getting angry at the person confronting us, can we this week, extend forgiveness to them?”

Let’s try it this week, when we are persecuted for our faith, let’s offer forgiveness.
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Disaster Response Coordinator

htapley@greatplainsumc.org
 

Prayer for Reflection

Empower us God, to offer forgiveness instead of anger when we are persecuted because of our faith in You.  May our response be the salt and light to those who are against us and may we fan the flame so that others will see our relationship with You.  Amen.


Devotion and prayer inspired by Catch the Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World   by Blake Busick and Christie Latona, For sermon outlines and worship helps for the season of Easter, go to www.greatplainsumc.org/catchfire.   
 

 

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