SUNDAY, May 28
We moved away from our two young adult kids to pastor a new church community, and the distance has been difficult. We talk on the phone and send texts, but the best moment is when they visit. The front door opens, and they pour into the house with suitcases, backpacks, pillows, snacks, and noise. Within a few hours they descend on the couch with blankets and rowdy conversation. The quiet house is filled with a bold arrival.
After 120 days of waiting, the followers of Jesus welcome the presence of God in a new and powerful way. The Holy Spirit fills the house suddenly and loudly. There is no missing his appearance. Rushing, resting, and filling, captured in fire, the Spirit of God transforms this early church small group into something brand-new. Until this moment, the Spirit was given only for seasons and specific reasons. Now, the Spirit indwells and provides power and wisdom. The world changed forever in a moment.
Spirit of God, thank you for arriving and transforming us. We welcome you into our lives. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: OPENNESS TO THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT
MONDAY, May 29
The sudden arrival of the Spirit of God surprises those in the neighborhood. They wonder at hearing their own languages from the mouths of the locals. The “locals,” a.k.a. the disciples, were also amazed. But God is not surprised. The God who created all the nations speaks their language and wants all to know of his deeds of power. And those listening want to know more. Who is behind this?
My dad helped to bring the Bible to the nations by working with an international Bible society. Sometimes he was present on the first day a community received the Word of God in their own language. He would return home telling stories of the great celebration and tears of joy of those who heard God’s words captured in their heart’s language. It is truly amazing that God allows his glory and power to be contained in words and phrases that his created ones can embrace. That is grace.
Father God, thank you for speaking in our language. We celebrate your grace and kindness. AMEN.
Pouring the Spirit
TUESDAY, May 30
Peter stands to redirect the conversation. The strange experience on those Jerusalem streets should be attributed not too much drinking but to a different kind of pouring. The Spirit of God arrived and brought some-thing amazing: prophecy, visions, and dreams. The flowing out of the Spirit creates a focus on what is to come. It stirs the hearts of sons and daughters, young and old, turning their focus from the harsh reality here toward the heavens and the day of the Lord, a great day.
Even the prophet Joel knew, several hundred years earlier, that all nations would see the arrival of the Spirit of God. He called them to “rend your hearts and not your clothing” (2:13, NRSV). Call on the name of the Lord, open your hearts with inward brokenness, and allow God to bring something new. Joel’s promises were not about the return of a political kingdom. They were an invitation to experience the outpouring of the Spirit.
Creator God, pour out your kingdom in our lives today. We desire a vision and dream of heaven. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER FOR ALL PEOPLE
WEDNESDAY, May 31
There is a synagogue about 100 yards north of our home. The parking lot fills up on Jewish holidays, especially the celebration of Sukkot in October. We know this as the Feast of Tabernacles when the people of Israel remember how God provided shelter, food, and water as they wandered in the desert wilderness. During this gathering, Jesus stood up and invited everyone to drink a different kind of water.
Sukkot includes a water celebration remembering Isaiah’s words, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). John clarifies that the water in that well is the Holy Spirit flowing into believers’ hearts and out of our lives. This Spirit came when Jesus was glorified. Even in the desert wilderness of our lives, we celebrate the refreshing and empowering work of the Spirit of God. Holy Spirit, flow out of our lives into our neighborhoods.
Lord Jesus, your glory releases the Spirit in our lives. We freely share that glory and grace. AMEN.
THURSDAY, June 1
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Many celebrate diversity because it brings all to the table of community. We need different perspectives, experiences, and talents to better capture the beauty and expansiveness of our good God. At the same time, diversity needs to be encompassed by unity so that we are not divided. “The same Spirit” draws us together in unity amidst wonderful variety. This is the common good.
As the apostle Paul wrote, “Not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:33, NKJV). The common good means others profit from the manifestation of the Spirit’s work in our life together.
The foundation is one of the first things to inspect when looking for a new home. If the foundation is unstable, the rest of the house is undesirable. Diversity in unity can create a strong foundation; anyone exploring faith will respond because it is so good.
Spirit of God, bring unity in our variety. We seek the common good of all those you created. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS
FRIDAY, June 2
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
A few days ago, we read about the gift of the Spirit of God. Paul connects to this idea and the drinking of this poured-out Spirit. We take in the Spirit of God daily as we open our physical bodies and spiritual hearts to his voice and direction. This surrender is symbolized and celebrated in our baptism as believers. We die to ourselves and are raised into new life in Christ and his body.
The body of Christ is made up of many parts, yet it is one. Sadly, we do not always experience oneness in Jesus’s church. We separate through theology, practice, ethnicity, and worship styles. These divisions push against Jesus’s prayer in John 17, a prayer for unity among the people of the cross. We were made to be one. Let us work toward that.
Jesus, you called us to connect our lives to one another. We hope to be one as you and the Father are one as we drink in the Spirit. AMEN.
God of Creation
SATURDAY, June 3
Take a moment to think about the world God created. He called into existence every creature, river, mountain, and sea. God did not simply create fish; he created more than 33,000 different kinds. He did not make one type of butterfly; he invented over 17,000 varieties. His creativity and generosity are unlimited. He made billions of stars, but there is only one you.
God put you together, piece by piece, in the womb. He saw all your days before the first one began. His breath has given you life, and he made you to mirror his image to this world. As if that was not enough, when you surrendered your life to him, he put his very Spirit in you. The Spirit arrived and moved into your life so you might have power, wisdom, and courage to build his kingdom. How do we respond to this truth? Praise the Lord!
Spirit of God, fill my life today. We are yours, and we are amazed at your power. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: GENEROSITY IN GIVING TO OTHERS