Monday, June 30, 2014
Monday Morning Devo--Beyond the Tomb, Part 9
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. (Acts 7:54-60)
Stephen was the first of Jesus's believers to be martyred. And yes, he died that day, stoned to death. They were as hesitant in those days to say "died" as we are. As we say someone "passed away," folks in those days said a person "fell asleep."
I love the courage of people willing to die for belief in God. They stand pat in the face of any danger. That courage didn't end with the death of Jesus's disciples. There are people in many areas of the world who daily put their lives at risk, refusing to deny they love the Lord. May I have that kind of courage if faced with a choice to abandon Jesus or die.
Lord, please grant me courage to face whatever life brings, whether it's a challenge to my faith or just enduring pain with grace. Thank You, Lord, for being at my side wherever I am. I love You, Lord.