And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. Acts 6:15.
Stephen, the foremost of the seven deacons, was a man of deep piety and broad faith…. He was very active in the cause of Christ and boldly proclaimed his faith. Learned rabbis and doctors of the law engaged in public discussion with him, confidently expecting an easy victory. But “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” …
As the priests and rulers saw the power that attended the preaching of Stephen, they were filled with bitter hatred…. [They] seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin council for trial….
Saul of Tarsus was present and took a leading part against Stephen. He brought the weight of eloquence and the logic of the rabbis to bear upon the case, to convince the people that Stephen was preaching delusive and dangerous doctrines; but in Stephen he met one who had a full understanding of the purpose of God in the spreading of the gospel to other nations….
In the cruel faces about him the prisoner read his fate; but he did not waver. For him the fear of death was gone. For him the enraged priests and the excited mob had no terror. The scene before him faded from his vision. To him the gates of heaven were ajar, and, looking in, he saw the glory of the courts of God, and Christ, as if just risen from His throne, standing ready to sustain His servant.
In every age God’s chosen messengers have been reviled and persecuted, yet through their affliction the knowledge of God has been spread abroad…. When the noble and eloquent Stephen was stoned to death … there was no loss to the cause of the gospel. The light of heaven that glorified his face, the divine compassion breathed in his dying prayer, were as a sharp arrow of conviction to the bigoted Sanhedrist who stood by, and Saul, the persecuting Pharisee, became a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ before Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Conflict and Courage p. 331
Prayer Requests
—–I’m asking for prayer for a very serious situation involving my son and his girlfriend which ultimately involves my grandson. Their lives are falling apart do to self induced problems. My main concern right now is the safety and well-being of my grandson and I’m trying to convince them to let me take care of him for a while until they can get things under control and back in a stable environment. Please pray that God will open their hearts and let go of their selfishness and see what is in the best interests of this child and to consider letting his grandmother take care of him until they can get their house in order. They are putting his life in jeopardy in many ways. Cora
—–Please pray for me. I have a problem with soap operas. I need to stop watching them. They’re evil and ungodly. I know it’s a waste of time. Marilynn
Dear Friends,
The other day, Peter thought it would be fun to tip back in his chair. That made us think of the time when Eileen was 7 and attended a one-room school in a southern state. Often, on the way home in the afternoon, she would tell me about one of the older boys in the class. He always seemed to be in trouble. He was not really a bad boy, he was more of the “class clown” type, enjoying the attention, liking to make the other kids laugh. The teacher, on the other hand, was not amused and often kept him after school.
One bad habit he had that had nothing to do with clowning around was his enjoyment of tipping back in his chair. No matter how many times the teacher told him to keep all four chair legs on the floor, he would always tip back on just two. He rationalized that it helped him to relax. She told him that someday he would fall backwards, but he did not take her warning. He thought she was being mean to him; but in reality, her warnings were for his protection. His influence was beginning to show in the way the other children obeyed their teacher as well. The teacher was very concerned.
One day, however, this class clown learned a valuable lesson that also made an impression on the other children. Somehow he tipped back in his chair just a little bit farther than normal and fell backwards with a “smack” just as the teacher had predicted. He hit not only the back of his head very hard but somehow hit his chin and split it open. Hurt and humiliated, he was the center of attention, but this time he didn’t like it. From then on, he was a little more subdued, and the teacher was able to teach.
Often we are like that boy. We read the many warnings in God’s Word, but we do not heed them. We think that it will not be that way for us. We know what is right, but we desire to go our own way. We feel that we can get by with it “just this once.” Just like that Alabama boy, we fail to realize that there are consequences to our disobedience. Just like that boy, we sometimes have to learn the hard way.
We have the same choice, that God gave Israel so many years ago: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God” Deut 11:26 Our Great Redeemer’s greatest desire is to bless us, but so often we want to do our own “thing” instead of loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. How much grief that causes His great heart of love. How many times we think that we know what is best for our life only to find later on that we have been following the wrong path. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov 16:25
Our Loving Saviour’s greatest desire is for us to love Him enough to obey Him. He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 John explains, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:2-4 “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” Eze 33:11 Our Loving Creator pleads with us, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isa 1:18
May we declare as did David, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” Ps119:10 May we obey our Dear Saviour because we love Him. May we, each day, choose to do those things which are pleasing in His sight (1 John 3:22) that we may “be an example . . . in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” is my prayer. 1 Tim 4:12

Martyred for Christ
Tagged on: