Acts 23 “When Morning Gilds the Skies”

ImageHow do you face each new day and especially when it seems that the skies have fallen in and all of the world is against you? The Hymn “When Morning Gilds the Skies” originally written in German and translated into English by a Roman Priest offers to us a view that we should consider. The first stanza reminds us that no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, Jesus is our source of hope and our reason to give praise.

“When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!”

The Apostle Paul, after having experiencing a second round of discouragement due to his inability to present Christ and His resurrection fully to the very men who were the leaders in the religious community, sat in his cell wondering as we might “what next?” Three times I have presented Christ and three times there has been not acceptance but riots. And yet we read:  “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Have courage, for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Truly the words of this hymn might have flowed forth from Paul even though with a heavy heart he seems to know that God’s mercy has come to an end for these religious leaders. They now have had six times to hear the truth of the gospel message from Jesus, Stephen and now Paul and with each time their hearts have hardened. It would be just a mere two years and the priest who ordered Paul to be struck would be assassinated and his reign of corruption would come to an end thus fulfilling the words of Paul: “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!”

When we are at the point of discouragement and it seems that those to whom we witness are hardened may the words of this hymn flow forth as words of praise for the one who holds our future in his hands will direct our steps in the way he has planned.

Beloved today are you facing a loved one that seems to have a hardened heart? Are you standing at the crossroads of discouragement? Beloved, take heart, Jesus knows the end from the beginning. Take the words of this hymn and sing as you have never before sung! Re-read this chapter and find encouragement from Jesus’ words to Paul: “Have courage!”


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