Weekday Boost June 16  

New Testament: Acts 16:22-40

 22The mob rose as one person against them, and the Magistrates stripped them of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23After beating them severely, the Magistrates put them in prison, with orders to the jailer to keep them in safe custody. 24On receiving so strict an order, the Governor put them into the inner cell, and secured their feet in the stocks. 25About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and while the prisoners were listening to them, 26suddenly there was an earthquake of such violence that the jail was shaken to its foundations; all the doors flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains were loosened. 27Roused from his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, the Governor drew his sword intending to kill himself, in the belief that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul called our loudly, “Do not harm yourself; we are all here.” 

 29Calling for a light, the Governor rushed in, and flung himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30Then he led them out, and said, “What must I do to be saved?” 

 31“Believe in Jesus, our Lord,” they replied, “and you will be saved, you and your household too.” 32Then they spoke to him of God’s message, and to all his household as well. 33And that very hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds, and he himself and everyone belonging to him were baptized without delay. 34Afterward he took them up to his house and set before them something to eat, rejoicing that he, with all his household, had come to believe in God. 

 35In the morning the Magistrates sent the police with an order for the men to be discharged. 36The jailer told Paul of his instructions. “The Magistrates have sent an order for your discharge,” he said, “so you had better leave the place at once and go quietly away.” 

 37But Paul’s answer to them was, “They have flogged us in public without trial, though we are Roman citizens, and they have put us in prison, and now they are for sending us out secretly! No, indeed! Let them come and take us out themselves.” 38The police reported his words to the Magistrates, who, on hearing that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, were alarmed, 39and went to the prison, and did their best to conciliate them. Then they took them out, and begged them to leave the city. 40When Paul and Silas left the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, and, after they had seen the Lord’s followers, and encouraged them, they left the place.

Prayer Friday: Prayers for Fathers and to our Father in Heaven.

Hymn for the Day: Faith of our fathers, living still 

Author: Frederick William Faber (1849) 

1 Faith of our fathers! living still 
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword; 
oh, how our hearts beat high with joy 
whene'er we hear that glorious word! 
Faith of our fathers, holy faith! 
We will be true to thee till death! 

2 Faith of our fathers! we will strive 
to win all nations unto thee, 
and through the truth that comes from God, 
the world shall then be truly free: 
faith of our fathers, holy faith! 
We will be true to thee till death! 

3 Faith of our fathers! we will love 
both friend and foe in all our strife; 
and preach thee, too, as love knows how, 
by kindly words and virtuous life: 
faith of our fathers, holy faith! 
We will be true to thee till death!

Weekday Boost June 15  

New Testament: Act 16:1-20

16Among other places Paul went to Derbe and Lystra. At the latter place they found a disciple, named Timothy, whose mother was a Jewish woman who was a believer, while his father was a Greek, 2and who was well spoken of by the followers of the Lord in Lystra and Iconium. 3Wishing to take this man with him on his journey, Paul caused him to be circumcised out of consideration for the Jews in that region, for they all knew that his father had been a Greek. 4As they traveled from town to town, they gave the followers the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and church elders at Jerusalem, for them to observe. 

 5So the churches grew stronger in the faith, and increased in numbers from day to day. 

 6They next went through the Phrygian district of Galatia, but were restrained by the Holy Spirit from delivering the message in Roman Asia. 7When they reached the borders of Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them. 8Passing through Mysia, they went down to Troas; 9and there one night Paul saw a vision. A Macedonian was standing and appealing to him – ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10So, immediately after Paul had seen the vision, we looked for an opportunity to cross over to Macedonia, concluding that God had summoned us to tell the good news to the people there. 

 11Accordingly we set sail from Troas, and ran before the wind to Samothrace, reaching Neapolis the next day. 12From there we made our way to Philippi, which is the principal city of that part of Macedonia, and also a Roman Settlement. 

In that city we spent several days. 13On the Sabbath we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and talked to the women who were gathered there. 14Among them was a woman, named Lydia, belonging to Thyatira, a dealer in purple cloth, who was accustomed to join in the worship of God. The Lord touched this woman’s heart, so that she gave attention to the message delivered by Paul, 15and, when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us to become her guests. 

“Since you have shown your conviction,” she said, “that I really am a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she insisted on our doing so. 

 16One day, as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a girl possessed by a divining spirit, who made large profits for her masters by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, calling, “These men are servants of the most high God, and they are bringing you news of a way to salvation.” 18She had been doing this for several days, when Paul, much vexed, turned and said to the spirit within her, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to leave her.” That very moment the spirit left her. 

 19When her masters saw that there was no hope of further profit from her, they seized Paul and Silas, dragged them into the public square to the authorities, 20and took them before the Magistrates.

Witness Thursday: People can change: Shane O. Wright

Hymn For the Day: Rejoice, ye pure in heart 

Author: E. H. Plumptre (1865) 

1 Rejoice, O pure in heart, 
rejoice, give thanks, and sing; 
your festal banner wave on high, 
the cross of Christ your King. 

Refrain: 
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks, and sing! 

2 Bright youth and snow-crowned age, 
both men and women, raise 
on high your free, exulting song, 
declare God's wondrous praise. [Refrain] 

3 Still lift your standard high, 
still chanting as you go, 
from youth to age, by night and day, 
in gladness and in woe. [Refrain] 

4 At last the march shall end; 
the wearied ones shall rest, 
the pilgrims reach their home at last, 
Jerusalem the blest. [Refrain] 

5 Praise God, who reigns on high, 
the Lord whom we adore: 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
one God forevermore. [Refrain]

Weekday Boost June 14  

New Testament: Acts 15:22-41

22It was then decided by the apostles and the elders, with the assent of the whole church, to choose some of their number, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. Those chosen were Judas (called Barsabas) and Silas, who were leaders among the community. 23They were bearers of the following letter – 

‘The apostles, and the followers who are the church elders, send their greetings to the followers of the Lord of Gentile birth in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. 24As we had heard that some of our number had upset you by their assertions, and unsettled your minds – without instructions from us – 25We met and decided to choose certain men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 27We are accordingly sending Judas and Silas, and they will tell you by word of mouth what we are now writing. 28We have, therefore, decided, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to lay no further burden on you beyond these necessary conditions – 29That you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating the flesh of strangled animals, and from impurity. If you guard yourselves against such things, it will be well with you. Farewell.’ 

 30So the bearers of this letter were sent on their way, and went down to Antioch. There they called a meeting of all the followers, 31and delivered the letter, the reading of which caused great rejoicing by its encouraging contents. 32Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, further encouraged the them by many an address, and strengthened their faith. 33After some stay, they were dismissed with kind farewells from the followers, and returned to those who had sent them. [1] 

 35Paul and Barnabas, however, remained in Antioch, where they taught and, with the help of many others, told the good news of the Lord’s message. 36Some time after this, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the Lord’s followers in every town in which we have told the Lord’s message, and see how they are prospering.” 37Barnabas wished to take with them John, whose other name was Mark; 38but Paul felt that they ought not to take with them the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia, and had not gone on with them to their work. 39This caused such unpleasant feeling between them that they parted ways, Barnabas taking Mark and sailing for Cyprus, 40while Paul chose Silas for his companion and, after he had been committed by the followers to the gracious care of the Lord, 41started on his journey and went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches in the faith. 

World News Wednesday Story: After More than a Year of Imprisonment in Sudan, Two Christians Released

Hymn for the Day: Marvelous grace of our loving Lord 

Author: Julia H. Johnston (1911) 

1 Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, 
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, 
yonder on Calvary's mount out-poured, 
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. 

Refrain: 
Grace, grace, God's grace, 
grace that will pardon and cleanse within; 
grace, grace, God's grace, 
grace that is greater than all our sin. 

2 Dark is the stain that we cannot hide, 
what can avail to wash it away! 
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide; 
whiter than snow you may be today. [Refrain] 

3 Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, 
freely bestowed on all who believe; 
you that are longing to see his face,

Weekday Boost June 13  

New Testament: Acts 15:1-21

15But certain persons came down from Judea, and began to teach the Lord’s followers that, unless they were circumcised, in accordance with the custom required by Moses, they could not be saved. 2This gave rise to a serious dispute, and much discussion, between Paul and Barnabas and these people, and it was therefore settled that Paul and Barnabas and others of their number should go up to Jerusalem, to consult the apostles and church elders about the matter under discussion. 

 3The church, therefore, sent them on their journey, and they made their way through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling the story of the conversion of the Gentiles, to the great joy of all the followers. 4On their arrival at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, as well as by the apostles and the elders, and gave an account of all that God had helped them to do. 5Some of the Pharisees’ party, however, who had become believers in Christ, came forward and declared that they were bound to circumcise converts and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses. 6The apostles and the church elders held a meeting to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter rose and said: 

“You, my friends, know well that long ago God singled me out – that through my lips the Gentiles should hear the message of the good news, and become believers in Christ. 8Now God, who reads all hearts, declared his acceptance of the Gentiles, by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between them and us, when he purified their hearts by their faith. 10Why, then, do you now provoke God, by putting on the necks of these disciples a yoke which neither our ancestors nor we were able to bear? 11No, it is through the loving kindness of the Lord Jesus that we, just as they do, believe that we have been saved.” 

 12Every voice in the assembly was hushed, as they listened to Barnabas and Paul, while they gave an account of all the signs and wonders which God had shown among the Gentiles through them. 13After they had finished speaking, James addressed the Council. 

“Friends,” he began, “hear what I have to say. 14Simon has described the manner in which God first visited the Gentiles, in order to take from among them a people to bear his name. 15And that is in harmony with the words of the prophets, where they say – 

 16‘After this I will return; 

And I will rebuild the house of David which has fallen – 

Its ruins I will rebuild, 

And will set it up once more; 

 17That so the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord – 

Even all the Gentiles on whom my name has been bestowed. 

 18Says the Lord, as he does these things, known from long ago.’ 

 19In my judgment, therefore, we should not add to the difficulties of those Gentiles who are turning to God, 20but we should write to them to abstain from food that has been polluted by being sacrificed to idols, from impurity, from eating the flesh of strangled animals, and from blood. 21For in every town, for generations past, there have been those who preach Moses, read as he is in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

Kindness Tuesday Story: 10,000 acts of kindness link students at two Orchard Park schools

Hymn for the Day: Wonderful grace of Jesus 

Author: Haldor Lillenas (1918) 

1. Wonderful grace of Jesus, 
Greater than all my sin; 
How shall my tongue describe it, 
Where shall its praise begin? 
Taking away my burden, 
Setting my spirit free; 
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. 

Refrain: 
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, 
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea; 
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, 
All-sufficient grace for even me! 
Broader than the scope of my transgressions, 
Greater far than all my sin and shame; 
Oh, magnify the precious Name of Jesus, 
Praise His Name! 

2. Wonderful grace of Jesus, 
Reaching to all the lost, 
By it I have been pardoned, 
Saved to the uttermost; 
Chains have been torn asunder, 
Giving me liberty; 
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. 

3. Wonderful grace of Jesus, 
Reaching the most defiled, 
By its transforming power, 
Making him God’s dear child, 
Purchasing peace and heaven 
For all eternity— 
And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Weekday Boost June 12  

New Testament:  Acts 14

 14The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue, and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed in Christ. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles, and poisoned their minds against the Lord’s followers. 3Therefore Paul and Barnabas spent a long time there, and spoke out fearlessly, relying on the Lord, who confirmed the message of his love by permitting signs and wonders to take place at their hands. 4But the townspeople were divided, some siding with the Jews, some with the apostles; 5and, when there was an attempt on the part of both Gentiles and Jews, with their leaders, to resort to violence and to stone them, 6the apostles heard of it, and took refuge in Lystra and Derbe, towns in Lycaonia, and in the district around, 7and there they continued to tell the good news. 

 8In the streets of Lystra there used to sit a man who had no power in his feet; he had been lame from his birth, and had never walked. 9This man was listening to Paul speaking, when Paul, looking intently at him, and seeing that he had the faith to be healed, 10said loudly, “Stand upright on your feet.” 

The man leaped up, and began walking about, 11and the crowd, seeing what Paul had done, called out in the Lycaonian language, “The Gods have come down to us in human form.” 12So they called Barnabas ‘Zeus,’ and Paul ‘Hermes,’ because he took the lead in speaking; 13and the priest of Zeus-beyond-the-Walls, accompanied by the crowd, brought bullocks and garlands to the gates, with the intention of offering sacrifices. 14But, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd. 

“Friends, why are you doing this?” they shouted. 15“We are only people like yourselves, and we have come with the good news that you should turn away from these follies to a living God, who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them. 16In bygone times he permitted all the nations to go their own ways. 17Yet he has not failed to give you, in the good he does, some revelation of himself – sending you from heaven rain and fruitful seasons, and gladdening your hearts with plenty and good cheer.” 18Even with this appeal they could hardly restrain the people from offering sacrifice to them. 

 19Presently, however, there came some Jews from Antioch, and Iconium who, after they had won over the people, stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the town, thinking him to be dead. 20But, when the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town; the next day he went with Barnabas to Derbe. 21After telling the good news throughout that town, and making a number of converts, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22reassuring the minds of the disciples, urging them to remain true to the faith, and showing that it is only through many troubles that we can enter the kingdom of God. 23They also appointed elders for them in every church, and, after prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had learned to believe. 24Paul and Barnabas then went through Pisidia, and came into Pamphylia, 25and, after telling the message at Perga, went down to Attaleia. 26From there they sailed to Antioch – the place where they had been committed to the gracious care of God for the work which they had now finished. 27After their arrival, they gathered the church together, and gave an account of all that God had helped them to do, and especially how he had opened to the Gentiles the door of faith; 28and at Antioch they stayed with the disciples for a considerable time.

Ministry Monday StoryHoops For Christ | From Professional Basketball, To Behind Bars

Hymn for the Day: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God of hosts, eternal King 

Author: Christopher Wordsworth (1862) 

1 Holy, holy, holy Lord 
God of Hosts, eternal King, 
By the heavens and earth adored; 
Angels and archangels sing, 
Chanting everlastingly 
To the blessed Trinity. 

2 Since by thee were all things made, 
And in thee do all things live 
Be in thee all honor paid; 
Praise to thee may all things give, 
Singing everlastingly 
To the blessed Trinity. 

3 Thousands, tens of thousands stand, 
Spirits blest, before thy throne, 
Speeding thence at thy command; 
And when thy behests are done, 
Singing everlastingly 
To the blessèd Trinity.

Weekday Boost June 9  

New Testament: Act 13:26-52

26Brothers and sisters, descendants of Abraham, and all those among you who worship God, it was to us that the message of this salvation was sent. 27The people of Jerusalem and their leaders, failing to recognize Jesus, and not understanding the utterances of the prophets that are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28They found no ground at all for putting him to death, and yet demanded his execution from Pilate; 29and, after carrying out everything written about him, they took Jesus down from the cross, and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead; 31and he appeared for many days to those who had gone up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and who are now witnesses for him to the people. 32We also have good news to tell you, about the promise made to our ancestors – 33That our children have had this promise completely fulfilled to them by God, by his raising Jesus. That is just what is said in the second Psalm – 

‘You are my Son; this day I have become your Father.’ 

 34As to his raising Jesus from the dead, never again to return to corruption, this is what is said – 

‘I will give to you the sacred promises made to David;’ 

 35And, therefore, in another Psalm it is said – 

‘You will not give up the Holy One to undergo corruption.’ 

 36David, after obediently doing God’s will in his own time, fell asleep and was laid by the side of his ancestors, and did undergo corruption; 37but Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, did not undergo corruption. 38I would, therefore, like you to know, friends, that through Jesus forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, 39and that, in union with him, everyone who believes in him is absolved from every sin from which under the Law of Moses you could not be absolved. 40Beware, therefore, that what is said in the prophets does not come true of you – 

 41‘Look, you despisers, and wonder, and perish; 

for I am doing a deed in your days – 

a deed which, though told you in full, you will never believe’.” 

 42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people begged for a repetition of this teaching on the next Sabbath. 43After the congregation had dispersed, many of the Jews, and of the converts who joined in their worship, followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue to rely on the loving kindness of God. 

 44On the following Sabbath, almost all the city gathered to hear God’s message. 45But the sight of the crowds of people filled the minds of the Jews with jealousy, and they kept contradicting Paul’s statements in violent language. 46Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out fearlessly, and said: 

“It was necessary that the message of God should be told to you first; but, since you reject it and reckon yourselves not worthy of the eternal life – we turn to the Gentiles! 47For this is the Lord’s command to us – 

‘I have destined you for a light to the Gentiles, 

a means of salvation to the ends of the earth’.” 

 48On hearing this, the Gentiles were glad and extolled God’s message; and all those who had been enrolled for eternal life became believers in Christ; 49and the Lord’s message was carried throughout that district. 50But the Jews incited the women of high social standing who worshiped with them, and the leading men of the town, and started a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. 51They, however, shook the dust off their feet in protest, 52and went to Iconium, leaving the disciples full of joy and of the Holy Spirit."

Prayer Friday:  Prayers to Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Hymn for the Day: Come, Holy Spirit, come; Let thy bright beams arise 

Author: J. Hart 

Full Text 

1 Come, Holy Spirit, come; 
Let thy bright beams arise; 
Dispel the darkness from our minds, 
And open all our eyes. 

2 Cheer our desponding hearts, 
Thou heav'nly Paraclete; 
Give us to lie with humble hope 
At our Redeemer's feet. 

3 Revive our drooping faith; 
Our doubts and fears remove; 
And kindle in our breasts the flames 
Of never-dying love. 

4 Convince us of our sin; 
Then lead to Jesus' blood, 
And to our wond'ring view, reveal 
The secret love of God. 

5 'Tis thine to cleanse the heart, 
To sanctify the soul, 
To pour fresh life in ev'ry part, 
And new create the whole. 

6 Dwell, therefore, in our hearts; 
Our minds from bondage free; 
Then we shall know and praise and love 
The Father, Son, and Thee.

Weekday Boost June 8  

New Testament: Acts 13:1-25

Among the members of the church at Antioch there were several prophets and teachers – Barnabas, Simeon who was known by the name of ‘Black’, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, foster-brother of Prince Herod, and Saul. 2While they were engaged in the worship of the Lord and were fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, for the work to which I have called them.” 3Accordingly, after fasting and prayer, they placed their hands on them and dismissed them. 

 4Barnabas and Saul, sent on this mission, as they were, by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia, and from there sailed to Cyprus. 5On reaching Salamis, they began to tell the message of God in the Jewish synagogues; and they had John with them as an assistant. 6After passing through the whole island, they reached Paphos, where they found an astrologer who pretended to be a prophet – a Jew by birth, whose name was Barjoshua. 7He was at the court of the Governor, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who sent for Barnabas and Saul and asked to be told God’s message. 8But Elymas, the astrologer (for that is the meaning of the word), opposed them, eager to divert the Governor’s attention from the faith. 9However, Saul (who is the same as Paul), full of the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on him and said, 10“You incarnation of deceit and all fraud! You son of the devil! You opponent of all that is good! Will you never cease to divert the straight paths of the Lord? Listen! 11The hand of the Lord is on you even now, and you will be blind for a time and unable to see the sun.” Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him, and he went feeling about for someone to guide him. 12When the Governor saw what had happened, he became a believer in Christ, being greatly impressed by the teaching about the Lord. 

 13After this, Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and went to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14The others went on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia. There they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and took their seats. 15After the reading of the Law and the prophets, the synagogue leader sent them this message – “Friends, if you have any helpful words to address to the people, now is the time to speak.” 16So Paul rose and, motioning with his hand, said: 

“People of Israel and all here who worship God, hear what I have to say. 17The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors, and during their stay in Egypt increased the prosperity of the people, and then with uplifted arm brought them out from that land. 18For about forty years he bore with them in the desert; 19then, after destroying seven heathen nations in Canaan, he allotted their land to this people – 20For about four hundred and fifty years. In later times he gave them Judges, of whom the prophet Samuel was the last. 21And, when they demanded a king, God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22After removing him, he raised David to the throne, and bore this testimony to him – ‘In David, the son of Jesse, I have found a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my purposes.’ 23It was from this man’s descendants that God, in accordance with his promise, gave Israel a Savior – Jesus; 24John having first proclaimed, before the appearance of Jesus, a baptism on repentance for all the people of Israel. 25As John was drawing towards the end of his career, he said ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not the Christ. But there is “one coming” after me, whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.’

Witness Thursday: Happy Birthday Bear Grylls: 7 quotes from the Chief Scout on faith

Hymn for the Day: Gracious Spirit, Love divine! Let thy light within me shine 

Author: John Stocker (1777) 

1 Gracious Spirit, Dove divine, 
let thy light within me shine; 
all my guilty fears remove, 
fill me full of heav'n and love. 

2 Speak thy pard'ning grace to me, 
set the burdened sinner free; 
lead me to the Lamb of God, 
wash me in his precious blood. 

3 Life and peace to me impart; 
seal salvation on my heart; 
breathe thyself into my breast, 
earnest of immortal rest. 

4 Let me never from thee stray, 
keep me in the narrow way, 
fill my soul with joy divine, 
keep me, Lord, forever thine.

Weekday Boost June 7  

New Testament: Acts 12

12It was at that time that King Herod began to ill-treat some of the members of the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, beheaded; 3and, when he saw that the Jews were pleased with this, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the Festival of the unleavened bread.) 4After seizing Peter, Herod put him in prison, and entrusted him to the keeping of four Guards of four soldiers each, intending, after the Passover, to bring him up before the people. 5So Peter was kept in prison, but meanwhile the prayers of the church were being earnestly offered to God on his behalf. 6Just when Herod was intending to bring him before the people, on that very night Peter was asleep between two soldiers, chained to them both, while there were sentries in front of the door, guarding the prison. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side, and roused him with the words, “Get up quickly.” 8The chains dropped from his wrists, and then the angel said, “Put on your belt and sandals.” When Peter had done so, the angel added, “Throw your cloak around you and follow me.” 

 9Peter followed him out, not knowing that what was happening under the angel’s guidance was real, but thinking that he was seeing a vision. 10Passing the first Guard, and then the second, they came to the iron gate leading into the city, which opened to them of itself; and, when they had passed through that, and had walked along one street, all at once the angel left him. 

 11Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know beyond all doubt that the Lord has sent his angel, and has rescued me from Herod’s hands and from all that the Jewish people have been expecting.” 12As soon as he realized what had happened, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also known as Mark, where a number of people were gathered together, praying. 13On his knocking at the door in the gate, a maidservant, named Rhoda, came to answer it. 14She recognized Peter’s voice, but in her joy left                          the gate unopened, and ran in, and told them that Peter was standing outside. 

 15“You are mad!” they exclaimed. But, when she persisted that it was so, they said, “It must be his spirit!” 

 16Meanwhile Peter went on knocking, and, when they opened the gate and saw him, they were amazed. 17Peter signed to them with his hand to be silent, and then told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison, adding, “Tell James and the others all this.” Then he left the house, and went away to another place. 

 18In the morning there was a great stir among the soldiers – what could have become of Peter! 19And, when Herod had made further search for him and failed to find him, he closely questioned the Guard, and ordered them away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to stay at Caesarea. 

 20It happened that Herod was deeply offended with the people of Tyre and Sidon, but they went in a body to him, and, having succeeded in winning over Blastus, the Chamberlain, they begged Herod for a reconciliation, because their country was dependent on the king’s for its food supply. 21On an appointed day Herod, wearing his state robes, seated himself on his throne, and delivered an oration. 22The people kept shouting, “It is the voice of God, and not of a person!” 

 23Instantly an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was attacked with worms, and died. 24Meanwhile the Lord’s message kept extending, and spreading far and wide. 

 25When Barnabas and Saul had carried out their mission, they returned to Jerusalem, and took with them John, who was also known as Mark.

World News Wednesday Story: ISIS Flag Flies in Asia’s Most Christian Country

Hymn for the Day:And can it be that I should gain 

Author: Charles Wesley (1738) 

1 And can it be that I should gain 
An int'rest in the Savior's blood? 
Died He for me, who caused His pain? 
For me, who Him to death pursued? 
Amazing love! how can it be 
That Thou, my God, should die for me? 

Refrain: 
Amazing love! how can it be 
That Thou, my God, should die for me! 

2 'Tis mystery all! Th'Immortal dies! 
Who can explore His strange design? 
In vain the firstborn seraph tries 
To sound the depths of love divine! 
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore, 
Let angel minds inquire no more. [Refrain] 

3 He left His Father's throne above, 
So free, so infinite His grace; 
Emptied Himself of all but love, 
And bled for Adam's helpless race; 
'Tis mercy all, immense and free; 
For, O my God, it found out me. [Refrain] 

4 Long my imprisoned spirit lay 
Fast bound in sin and nature's night; 
Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray, 
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; 
My chains fell off, my heart was free; 
I rose, went forth and followed Thee. [Refrain] 

5 No condemnation now I dread; 
Jesus, and all in Him is mine! 
Alive in Him, my living Head, 
And clothed in righteousness divine, 
Bold I approach th'eternal throne, 
And claim the crown, through Christ my own. [Refrain]

 

Weekday Boost June 6  

New Testament: Acts 11

 11The apostles and the followers throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s message. 2But, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, those who were converts from Judaism began to attack him, 3on the ground that he had visited people who were not circumcised, and had taken meals with them. 4So Peter began to relate the facts to them as they had occurred. 5“I was in the town of Jaffa,” he said, “and was praying; and, while in a trance, I saw a vision. There was something like a great sail descending, let down by its four corners out of the heavens; and it came right down to me. 6Looking intently at it, I began to distinguish quadrupeds, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds; 7and I also heard a voice saying to me – ‘Stand up, Peter, kill something and eat.’ 8‘No, Lord, I cannot,’ I answered, ‘for nothing defiled or unclean has ever passed my lips.’ 9Then a second time there came a voice from the heavens. ‘What God has pronounced clean’, it said, ‘you must not call defiled.’ 10This happened three times, and then all was drawn up again into the heavens. 11At that moment three men, who had been sent from Caesarea to see me, came up to the house in which we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them without hesitation. These six companions also went with me. And, when we came into the man’s house, 13he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and how the angel had said to him – ‘Send to Jaffa and fetch the Simon, who is also known as Peter; 14for he will tell you truths, which will prove the means of salvation to you and all your household.’ 15I had but just begun to speak,” continued Peter, “when the Holy Spirit fell on them, exactly as on us at the first; 16and I recalled the saying of the Master – ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17Since then, God had given them the very same gift as he gave us when we became believers in Jesus Christ the Master – who was I that I could thwart God?” 

 18On hearing this statement, they said no more, but broke out into praise of God. “So even to the Gentiles,” they exclaimed, “God has granted the repentance which leads to life!” 

 19Now those who had been scattered in different directions, in consequence of the persecution that followed the death of Stephen, went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, telling the message – but only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, who were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, on coming to Antioch, addressed themselves also to the Jews of foreign birth, telling them the good news about that Lord Jesus. 21The power of the Lord was with them, so that a great number who had learned to believe came over to the Lord’s side. 22The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23On coming there he saw to his great joy these tokens of the loving kindness of God, and encouraged them all to make up their minds to be faithful to the Lord – 24For Barnabas was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith – and a large number of people took their stand on the Lord’s side. 25Afterward Barnabas left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26and, when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And so it came about that, for a whole year, they attended the meetings of the church there, and taught a large number of people; and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’ 

 27During this time, some prophets came to Antioch from Jerusalem. 28One of them, named Agabus, came forward and, under the influence of the Spirit, foretold a great famine that was to spread over all the world – a famine which occurred in the reign of Claudius. 29So the disciples, without exception, determined, in proportion to their means, to send something to help the followers living in Judea. 30And this they did, sending it to the church elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Kindness Tuesday StorySUMMER KINDNESS CALENDARS FOR KIDS

Hymn for the Day: Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove, With light and comfort from above 

Author: Simon Browne (1720) 

1 Come, gracious Spirit, heav'nly dove, 
with light and comfort from above. 
Come, be our guardian, be our guide; 
o'er ev'ry thought and step preside. 

2 The light of truth to us display, 
and make us know and choose your way; 
plant holy fear in ev'ry heart, 
that we from God may ne'er depart. 

3 Lead us to Christ, the living way, 
nor let us from his pastures stray. 
Lead us to holiness, the road 
that we must take to dwell with God. 

4 Lead us to heav'n, that we may share 
fullness of joy forever there; 
lead us to our eternal rest, 
to be with God forever blest.

 

Weekday Boost June 5  

New Testament: Acts 10: 27-48

 27Talking with him as he went, Peter entered the house, where he found a large gathering of people, to whom he said, 28“You are doubtless aware that it is forbidden for a Jew to be intimate with a foreigner, or even to enter his house; and yet God has shown me that I ought not to call anyone defiled or unclean. 29That was why I came, when I was sent for, without raising any objection. And now I ask your reason for sending for me.” 

 30“Just three days ago this very hour,” Cornelius said, “I was in my house, saying the Afternoon Prayers, when a man in dazzling clothing suddenly stood before me. 31‘Cornelius,’ he said, ‘your prayer has been heard, and your charities have been accepted, by God. 32Therefore send to Jaffa, and invite the Simon, who is also known as Peter, to come here. He is lodging in the house of Simon the tanner, near the sea.’ 33Accordingly I sent to you at once, and you have been so good as to come. And now we are all here in the presence of God, to listen to all that you have been instructed by the Lord to say.” 34Then Peter began. 

“I see, beyond all doubt,” he said, “that God does not show partiality, 35but that in every nation he who reverences him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36God has sent his message to the Israelites and told them, through Jesus Christ, the good news of peace – and Jesus is Lord of all! 37You yourselves know the story which spread through all Judea, how, beginning form Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed – 38The story, I mean, of Jesus of Nazareth, and how God consecrated him his Christ by enduing him with the Holy Spirit and with power; and how he went about doing good and curing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39We are ourselves, too, witnesses to all that he did in Judea and in Jerusalem; yet they put him to death by hanging him on a cross! 40This Jesus God raised on the third day, and enabled him to appear, 41not indeed to everyone, but to witnesses chosen beforehand by God – to us, who ate and drank with him after his resurrection from the dead. 42Further, God charged us to proclaim to the people, and solemnly affirm, that it is Jesus who has been appointed by God judge of the living and the dead. 43To him it is that all the prophets bear witness, when they say that everyone who believes in him receives through his name forgiveness of sins.” 

 44Before Peter had finished saying these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to the message. 45Those converts from Judaism, who had come with Peter, were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been bestowed even on the Gentiles; 46for they heard them speaking in different languages and extolling God. At this Peter asked, 47“Can anyone refuse the water for the baptism of these people, now that they have received the Holy Spirit as we did ourselves?” 48And he directed that they should be baptized in the faith of Jesus Christ; after which they asked him to stay there a few days longer.

Ministry Monday Story: ‘River of Life’ pilgrimage down Connecticut River offers 40 days of prayer, paddling

Hymn for the Day: Jesus! Name of wondrous love! 

Author: William Walsham How (1854) 

1 Jesus! Name of wondrous love, 
Name all other names above, 
Unto which must ev'ry knee 
Bow in deep humility. 

2 Jesus! Name decreed of old, 
To the maiden mother told, 
Kneeling in her lowly cell, 
By the angel Gabriel. 

3 Jesus! Name of priceless worth 
To the fallen sons of earth, 
For the promise that it gave, 
"Jesus shall His people save." 

4 Jesus! Name of mercy mild, 
Given to the holy Child 
When the cup of human woe 
First He tasted here below. 

5 Jesus! Only name that's giv'n 
Under all the mighty heav'n 
Whereby those to sin enslaved, 
Burst their fetters and are saved. 

6 Jesus! Name of wondrous love, 
Human name of God above; 
Pleading only this, we flee, 
Helpless, 0 our God, to Thee.