February 21, 2018
Read Acts 7:30-60
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Scripture- Acts 7:58b-60- His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Observations- Stephen became the first Christian martyr in this scene. He go to have his hearing in front of the religious officials and his accusers, but they weren't interested in turning to the Good News of Jesus Christ. We do, however, see the foreshadowing of the way God will use even this horrible incident for his glory as Saul- later Paul- is introduced into the narrative. Stephen dies using similar words to those spoken by Jesus on the cross, which modeled discipleship...living and dying in the way of Jesus.
Application- Why does God allow this to happen to someone who loves Him so much and who serves Him so well? "Why?!" is the question that often arises for us in this life, but the fact remains that a theologically brilliant answer doesn't change our pain nor does it really answer our question. We choose to trust God, even when we don't understand why something is happening. We also believe that we are allowed to wonder and cry out to God with our "Why?!" questions. We have faith and we seek understanding. God can- and does- use awful circumstances for His glory: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28),
Prayer- Thank You, Lord, that even when we don't have any clue why something is happening we can still put our trust in You. Faith isn't the absence of all doubts; rather faith is trusting You through any doubts. We pray for You to bring healing in a violent world. We ask for Your guidance in being a part of the healing and a solution. Amen.
"Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." (Romans 5:1),
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