In the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 13, we come to the church at Antioch. It is a very busy church with many new converts of Jesus Christ. We are told that while the people of the church were worshipping the Lord and fasting the Holy Spirit commanded them to set apart Barnabas and Saul to go out in the world to do the work he had chosen for them to do. That work was to spread the Good News of Jesus throughout the world. That was a big undertaking, especially as Saul had been known as a persecutor. This shows us the power that the Holy Spirit had as well as being counsellor and comforter.
We go now to a young Jewish girl called Esther who had been chosen by King Xerxes to be his Queen. He had not realised that she was Jewish. To make a long story short, there were those close to the King who were intending to annihilate all the Jewish people. Mordecai was a cousin of Esther and he said to her, “who knows that you have come to Royal position for such a time as this”. This story does not mention God, but I understand that without the Father and His Spirit Esther could not have saved the Jews.
The Book of Esther is well worth reading and might remind us of a time when we have been led by the Holy Spirit to change the life of someone, and in Acts 13-15 we find more about the conversion of Saul and about Barnabas the Encourager.
PRAYERS FOR THE WEEKAs we pray in the name of Jesus, we turn to our Father who waits to hear us, and we look in awe at the work of the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus we praise you over and over again for Your unending love for us and your call to us to love one another, even those who make loving difficult.
Holy Spirit we thank and praise you when you lead us to where we ought to be. You amaze us when you command us to be where there is great need and you show us how to change cruelty and injustice to freedom and joy.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you may not have been mentioned by name when your people were in danger but you were there with Esther who put her whole trust in you to show her exactly how to save your people from death. We probably will never be called to such a difficult situation but whatever you command us to do we know that by putting our trust in you we too can move mountains.
Lord Jesus, we are reminded of the day when Saul met you on the road to Damascus and his life was overturned in a way he never expected. Lord lead us to those who appear to be completely against you and give us the words to say that will turn their lives over and instead of being a ‘Saul’ they become a ‘Paul’.
Lord Holy Spirit, you know that in the present moment there are Christian people not able to decide the way to go, even now they have not known how to be close to God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit show them where there is a need and may they hear the command to trust and go! Amen.