Daily Word

Acts 7

Read Acts 7 – We are still in the moment with Stephen.  His face is as bright as an angels and he speaks with wisdom and eloquence.  He gives a summary of biblical history from Abraham through the murder of Jesus in verses :1-53.  It made the religious leaders furious and they acted out in rage.  Rage is a dangerous beast, and their behavior is insane. 

Meanwhile, Stephen is having an encounter with the Lord Jesus:  “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” :56.  Their rage escalates and they drag Stephen out of the city and stone him, :58.  Stoning is a horrific way to die, yet Stephen seems to be in the Lord’s hands throughout it… his final words are, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” 

Beloved, God is with you in your trials and times of persecution.  Stephen is the spark that will ignite Christianity to the ends of the earth.  Jesus says, “Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone.  But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives,” John 12:24  Death seems like an end, but truly, the best is yet to come.  And for those who remain, Stephen’s life continues to bring truth and life throughout time.  Ask yourself, what will your legacy be?

Daily Word

Acts 5

Read Acts 5 – There will be no phony-baloney business before God. 

It was a time when the church was being established and believers were freely sharing all of their possessions so that no one lacked anything.  Ananias and Sapphira were caught up in the spirit of giving and sold some property, giving part of the money to the apostles, but claiming it was the full amount.  They exaggerated to seem more generous, to look good.  Why? Why would they do this?  Peter was quick to see the heart issue of this lie and called Ananias out on it.  He dropped dead in response.  Peter then confronts Sapphira and she supports the family lie, testing the Lord as her husband did, and meets the same fate.  Beloved, God judges the heart.  May the motives of your heart always be pure. 

Next, the apostles are arrested for performing miraculous signs and wonders among the people, causing many people to believe.  The Sadducees let their judgment be clouded with jealousy (:12-17).  But there is a clever Pharisee named Gamaliel, an expert in religious law and well respected.  He proposed the phony-baloney test (my paraphrase), saying the men would either fizzle out, as others had, or, if their movement was from God, they would not be able to stop them.  Gamaliel was shrewd, but not godly in motive, yet God used his counsel to free the apostles and fuel the message. 

Beloved, may your heart always be true.  Integrity matters.