Great Plains Daily Devotional for 5/27/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Beatrice Centenary UMC
Blue River District
Ceresco UMC
Ithaca UMC
Valparaiso UMC
Blue River District
Director, The Mediation Center
Cortland United
Blue River District
Crete Grace UMC
Blue River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Acts 12:1-19

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. On recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.” Meanwhile Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the gate, they saw him and were amazed. He motioned to them with his hand to be silent, and described for them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he added, “Tell this to James and to the believers.” Then he left and went to another place.

When morning came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. When Herod had searched for him and could not find him, he examined the guards and ordered them to be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.

Today's Devotional

As a person who works in young people’s ministry, I would wonder about the question, “Do you too easily give in to worldly forces, assuming that the mission of Christ is limited because of the times in which we live?”  What came to mind immediately was technology.  Young people (OK, maybe not just the young) are robbed of their ability to make time, to take time for prayer, fellowship, and their relationship with Christ because of all the distractions that the wonderful world of technology has to offer.
When we are at camp, we ask that the staff and the campers give up their cell phones, not accepting their need to use them as a “clock, or alarm.”  I often am handing out drugstore watches where they actually have to read the hands of the clock!  This is a shock for many to be completely “disconnected” from the “times” we live in, and experience Christ as the early church did:  “actively” focused in His creation and their relationship with Him through prayer, study, fellowship, and worship.  By day two there are few complaints about being without those distractions, and we have a full faith community living, praying, and seeking their potential in their life of faith.  A movement of transformation happens each and every year at camp and I believe that being in His creation and participating actively in our relationship with Christ without the distractions of our times is the key.
Let us not become “stagnant” in actively experiencing and living God’s mission in our lives and in the world.  Remember, the focused fervent prayers of the church rescued Peter from his captors.
-Kelly Newell

Prayer for Reflection

Almighty and gracious God, we pray for each pastor today, that he or she might lead boldly and courageously so that others join in the movement of God’s mission in the world; to once again catch on fire and spread that fire wildly.
“Excerpted from the book “Catch Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World” by Blake Busick and Christie Latona.”


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