Acts 7

I was reading/listening to Acts today. I realized I had never personally read the story of stephen. Its increadible. But its so open. Im going to have to do some research. I want to know why people turned on Stephen. I do know that he was not a jew, but believed in and preached Jesus. And basically what happened was, that for whatever reason (which i really do want to find out) people turned on him and made up stories saying that he was blaspheming the name of Jesus and preaching things that were untrue. Then, they put him on trial where they had false witnesses testify against him. In His defense, Stephen didnt call them liars, he didnt talk about himself or the righteous things he was doing. He talked about God, and the history of Israel. I find that so interesting, him being a gentile! He told about Abraham, the exile and Moses. He told them about how their ancestors persecuted the prophets before him, even the ones who prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. I think its really awesome how closely he held the history of Israel in his own heart.

At the same time, Im almost positive that he was pissed.  But I think he was angrier at the fact that the Jewish people who were coming against him, were not even listening to the truth. THEY are God’s chosen people, and they didnt even want to hear it. So this is what he said:

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.  But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,  and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;  and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Amazing. They were stoning him to death, and his last breath was not pleading for himself, it was pleading for the very people heaving boulders at him. His last breath.

Thats amazing. He was a man. Like everyone else. What in the world caused him not to focus on his own pain, but on the souls of others in the midst of being murdered. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. In Chapter 6, he is described as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”

Reading this, I have realized that I sometimes, totally and completely understimate the power of God within me. I constantly feel as if there is too much of me, and not enough of God.

Its a trap. Dont let anyone (yourself included) make you feel like God can not work in you. It can stifle your growth and faith.

 

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