March 12

Lord, plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to your word.  Psalm 119:154 NKJV

So Philip ran up to it and heard an Ethiopian reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.  Acts 8:30-31

How wonderful to have someone to sit beside you and explain the word of the Lord as Philip did for the Ethiopian man! In considering these readings before I started to write this devotion, it occurred to me that I could write a lot of devotions (if not whole books!) about the people who have done for me what the apostle Philip did for this man. I could tell you (and you could tell me) about all the men, women, and young people who have stood in the pulpit or at the lectern and made a verse clearer to me, either by preaching for twenty minutes or by reading from photocopied papers, sometimes struggling with the pronunciation of names and places that seem very far away to us. 

Or I could tell you about a Stephen’s Minister, or my friends who’ve sat with me in Bible studies, or books that I’ve read, Sunday school teachers, confirmation teachers, and the words of the kids sitting at the front of the church during the children’s sermon, in their replies to Brittany’s questions. I feel like I have learned much more as I have come to help with writing devotions, and I hope it is because I have opened myself up more to the endless amounts of interpretation available to us in God’s word. 

I was sharing these thoughts with a friend at work who had noticed my book of Daily Texts that we use in writing these devotions and asked about it.

“Don’t forget the Holy Spirit,” she pointed out, “that’s who guides us in our paths of learning, that’s who impresses on us what the scripture is trying to say.” 

Sure enough, as I read through the surrounding verses of Acts 8, I saw that it was the spirit that directed Philip to the Ethiopian’s chariot, telling him, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” (Acts 8:29).  I feel that an important message to us today is that the Holy Spirit is guiding our lives in ways that we can’t foresee, if we will only leave our hearts and minds open to the possibilities.

The spirit sends us forth to serve,

We go in Jesus’ name

To bring glad tidings to the poor,

God’s favor to proclaim.  **

Heavenly father, we thank you for sending your spirit to lead us to better things, both in our own lives and in the lives of others. Thank you also for your forgiveness when we do not go where we are being led, and when we allow the good things that need doing in the world to go undone, expecting others to do the lifting. Amen

** Hymn by Sr. Delores Dufner

Lynda Tysdal