Acts: Day 9

Evidence of the Spirit’s Work

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Today's Text: Acts 6:1-15, Genesis 4:3-7, 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Exodus 34:29-30

Text: Acts 6:1-15, Genesis 4:3-7, 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Exodus 34:29-30

We can disavow the prosperity gospel with our words but still believe it in our hearts. We shake our fists at God, saying, “I did what you told me to and this is how you repay me?” I’ve done this a time or two in my life and am guilty of doing it again as recently as this morning.

Stephen was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:8). He reminds me of a few other men who came before him: Abraham, Noah, Job—men the Bible tells us were full of faith and for whom things went terribly wrong. I sometimes wonder if being “full of faith” is a prerequisite for all sorts of calamity. Not exactly the way we were told it would turn out, though, right?

Come to Jesus and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
Come to Jesus and He’ll make your life better.
Come to Jesus and His beautiful plan for your life.

These are true things, but the caveat to the clause should read something like this:

Come to Jesus, die, and then be raised to life with Him eternal.

Coming to Jesus involves a death of self we’d often rather forget.

Did Stephen know this when his name was counted among the first deacons of the early Church? Being full of faith and the Holy Spirit, did he know he’d be arrested just a few short verses later?

Come to Jesus, display His fruit, and stand before the council for your stoning!

I’ve spent a good portion of my Christian life in pursuit of the faith, grace, and power the Holy Spirit brings. I’d be just fine with being known as “that girl”—the one full of faith. But I now know enough about suffering that, as I stand before the council of the world, I’m unsure and wobbly, shaky and fearful. I’ve disavowed the prosperity gospel, yet I’ve believed it all the same. Do this, be like this, follow this, and it will always go well for you. Yes, but… well, what about when it doesn’t?

God was not in the debt of a man like Stephen or anyone else. It was Stephen—the servant and deacon who performed great wonders in His name—who was indebted to God. We get this backwards all too often. We center our energies on what God owes us, center our beliefs on what we’ve done for Him. While He is a good, faithful, kind, and generous God, He’s no puppet on the strings of our whims.

God was with Stephen there, in the place of his arrest, before the appointing of his death, and Acts 6:15 tells us, “They saw his face was like the face of an angel.” There’s a certain type of unshakeable peace for those who are the true servants of God, and Stephen knew this before he ever opened his mouth to speak. His peace wasn’t a peace the world could give, and it wasn’t something he could conjure up himself. It was the peace of God, given to a servant of God.

There is peace for the one who knows there is no bargaining with the God of the universe.

Be full of faith, friends, and full of the Holy Spirit, grace, and power. Do mighty wonders in His name (Psalm 77:14). But do not fear or be surprised when you’re called before the council, when hard things happen, calamity occurs, and difficulties rise. There is a good and strange peace for you there.

We serve a God whose actions do not depend on our goodness. Let us praise Him for it.

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Lore Wilbert is the Director of Community and Formation at Park Church, Denver, and writer at Sayable.net. Find her on twitter @lorewilbert.

  • Patricia correa

    There is peace for the one who knows there is no bargaining with the God of the universe.

  • Nichole

    Wowza!! So good and encouraging for the call that I feel! Giving Him my all because He gave HIS ALL for me!

  • Miranda

    I needed this today, when I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be and trying to live a life of faith and then the hardships of life strike. He is still in control and is there in the hardships and trials of life, a promise that I need to cling to when things are not going well. God is good!

  • Loving the Acts plan.

  • Challenging-thanks!

  • Stephanie

    Interesting that you think He is fake yet you choose to come here. God is real and His power is real and He is not frightened by your unbelief. I pray that He reveals himself to you now as you read this in a powerful way that makes your spirit quake. In Jesus name. May you all experience the LOVE of God as He pursues you. You are not here by mistake but divine appointment.

  • Filled the Spirt chosen yet stoned…it make me pause a think..

  • Wow! Beautifully written and so convicting! No matter how much I do for Christ He is never indebted to me. I deserve nothing and the fact that he has given me eternal life is a miracle. I owe Him my life!

  • This devotional is just what I needed today. Last week, my sister’s best friend was diagnosed with Leukemia. She is 18 years old, and she will finish her first round of treatment tomorrow. Recently, I have been praying to God asking why He has done this. Asking why He has chosen her and her family for this path of doubt and struggling. I have been praying that He will help them keep faith through it all, but today has helped me realize that God does not only set us on paths of ease and plenty, but that He sets us on those of suffering as well because He provides us peace during these times. This family is one that is full of faith, so now I pray that they, as well, will know this about God. I pray that He will provide them peace during this girl’s battle with cancer, and I ask you all to keep them in your prayers as well.

    • Hope

      Amen! God does interesting things. My husband is surgical oncologist. I met him when I was 18 and we’ve done a lot of life together but the profession and all the time it takes has shifted our relationship considerably. Its just hard to be a good wife and mother to 3 without him while also working. But despite this, stories like this remind me of his calling, his ability to help alongside the Holy Spirit, and how vulnerable people are when they go to him. For the past 3 years, I have taken on praying for all those I encounter with cancer because they remind me that my personal suffering is nothing compared to their suffering. Thanks for this reminder. I will be praying.

  • “We serve a God whose actions do not depend on our goodness” ❤️

  • It’s still so common for Christians to be thought of (and perhaps view themselves) as people who have easy lives because God gives them all good things. He DOES gives us amazing things, but He does not promise that trials and pain and really hard things won’t happen to us. However, as this devotion points out (and I needed it!), God promises us peace and life with Him for forever and we can hold onto those things when the heartbreaking situations come to us.
    http://www.thegirlontheverge.com

  • Barbara Harrison

    The peace of Jesus is so real in calamity. I lost my husband of 33 years on May 1. I got the news while out of town on a business trip and had to travel across country alone bearing this awful reality. I’ve never felt the presence of Jesus so closely as I did on that trip. My heart was broken but I was not dismayed or defeated. I felt like the whole universe was cheering for me, “you can make it, you can do this, you are not alone!” He’s still carrying me and I’m confident that He will until I can stand again.

    • Reeve

      I love this. “He’s still carrying me and I’m confident that He will until I can stand again.” That is the beautiful peace of Christ being shown through you and the total truth of who He is!

    • Kara

      I am so sorry for your loss! I appreciate so much you sharing how faithful God has been to give you His strength during such a hard season. This is such a fear of mine and I appreciate you sharing how you have felt Jesus’ presence with you.

  • Chelsea that so resonates with me too! His plan for my life centres on His redemptive story, not my own perceived ideas about His role in my life. My heart goes out to those of you in stormy seasons – I pray that His ‘strange peace’ encircles you today. Blessings.

  • Carrie Rogers

    Great message! I too have struggled with the prosperity gospel. It wasn’t until I started really studying the bible that I began to know truth. ❤️ When hard things happen, there is a good and strange peace even then.

  • Chelsea Cook

    Something I’ve been trying to teach myself this past year is fully surrendering myself to God’s will. Taking my eyes off of myself. Taking the idea “what is God’s plan for my life?” and changing it into “How do I center myself into God’s plan?” Gods plan is not about my life, it is ultimately about his redemptive story. He loves us each enough that we are apart of his story and ultimately our purpose here I believe is to serve him and to “go”. To make disciples. To be his hand and feet. The moments in our busy lives when we can focus and pour out our hands and say my life is yours Lord, your will be done and not my own–those are the moments that we’re here for.

  • Keri Underwood

    “There is peace for the one who knows there is no bargaining with the God of the universe.” – Yes, yes, yes! I think sometimes we forget that the bible isn’t about us. We are tiny little pieces to this grand love story. So, knowing that His plan WILL win and that it’s really all about Him takes so much pressure and weight off my shoulders! God’s got this. I have no need to worry.

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Stephanie

    I often expect God to do my bidding, and I have to remember that isn’t how it works. I want things magically fixed the way I want them fixed.

    This serves as a reminder that I’m not in control. God is. He is doing what he needs to do, and I need to use my free will to do things his way rather than mine!

  • Michelle Bates

    there is peace knowing we cannot bargain with God, but it is a strange peace. we cannot have the peace that passes understanding unless we hsve Truth. the truth is the gospel. when that truth is so deep, so ingrained, then we can have peace and we will trust in Jesus’s amazing sovereignty and mercy and grace and control over us. 11 years ago our daughter was born 39 weeks early. upon arrival she got a down syndrome diagnosis. we were devastated. 10 months later her brother came early and passed away the following day. 8 months ago our youngest son died in a tragic car accident in our driveway. we have been reeling, but those years previous we learned the gospel. we learned the truth. we have had peace, but it does not mean our life us peaceful. our Lord us amazingly gracious and kind. in him we trust, cling and hold fast.

    • Jackie Phillips

      I’m so sorry for your losses and trials. But I’m so encouraged how you are clinging to God and still see & believe He is good. Much like Job, even when it’s hard and we don’t understand, He is STILL good & gracious. Peace comes from God and it’s good to know you’re pressing on. Thanks for sharing!

    • Keri Underwood

      “We have had peace, but it doesn’t mean our life is peaceful” I love that. And it’s so true. Your testimony and perseverance through these trials are sure to be used for His glory!

      http://www.littlelightonahill.com

    • Tina

      Dear Michelle Bates,
      My heart aches with you in this pain, tears roll down my face with you…I hurt for you…
      I am so so very sorry for your losses and trials..Holding you and yours close to my heart in prayer, that the peace you have experienced continue, that you continue to hold fast to our faithful, comforting and gracious God…
      Wish I could be close to give you a hug and love…my dear sister…
      God is near…xxx

  • I’ve struggled with not having a “plan” after college. This helped lift that burden off my shoulders. It is not my plan but Gods plan.

    • Hope

      Hi, God has jokes. I just told him I would help a few students get into, thrive, and finish college yesterday. I’m a professor and been on admissions committees but more importantly, the Holy Spirit has given me wisdom in this area. email me if I can help. [email protected] I guess, I’m part of HIS plan for you.

  • Laurie Anstead

    Sooo true!!!
    Lord, help me. Die to self.

  • I love the Exodus scripture! Moses face shone because he spend so much time with our father. And all of the people of Israel were able to see it.
    I love to think that spending time with God will make me glow as well. Make me shine in a dark and broken world. Make me shine with love and compassion. And I hope everyone will see it.

  • Definitely! There is no peace that compares to the Peace of God that surrounds you in the storms!

  • caroline

    I am so thankful for the peace he offers in the storms, something that only can come from HIM!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Christ went to the cross for the JOY set before Him. If He could go the cross for me then,I certainly can live this life for Him!

  • As a Christian woman I should be striving for the qualifatications that are set up for deacons wife’s. Just a Christ like way to live.
    I think gossip hurts the church and greatly displeases our Heavenly Father.
    Managing my family is a full time job!
    I want others to see me and my family and see God’s love in us and want what we have.
    I pray that God’s love will be in my life that others see a glow on my face. This is so hard when I am in pain! Only God can give me HIS JOY and help me show his love to others each day. That is my prayer.

  • Bernadette

    I have always thought that I was so special to God! I felt that when I cried that God was with me, wiping my tears away. I felt that when someone hurt me that I did not have to hurt them back, because God loved me so much that he will fight my battles for me. I felt that I was untouchable! Then, My daughter passed away on April 26. Less than 2 months ago. I screamed at God! I told him that I thought he loved me. He knew that I had faith, and my faith was larger than a mustard seed. I thought to myself that since all we needed was faith of a mustard seed, then why wasn’t mountains moved for me. Through it all, I have not stop loving God. He is everything to me and he is all I have. When this world fade away and all that we see in it, God and his word will stand FOREVER! I realize that I can live without my daughter, but I cannot live if I don’t have God. I realize that I can’t just accept good from him and not evil. But, for my daughter to be away from me, I know that that is not evil. Paul said, ” To live is Christ and to die is gain”. My daughter was sick, but she believed and loved God. She knew that if she was to feel better, that her only help was to come from the Lord.
    She is better!! Am not any different from those who suffered in the biblical times, those who love God now and is suffering, No. I am learning to not focus on the world and the things of the world, because it will all fade away, but the word of our God stands forever.

    • Laura

      I’m deeply touched by this. I think that one thing that would be greatly beneficial to you would be to read A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, he brings up a lot of issues similar to what you said. God bless. Praying for you.

    • Leenda324

      I lost a son too and resonate with your anger and grief. God made your ability to be angry and He can take it. Let it all out and go back to the simple truth of this: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Holding you in my heart today.

    • She Reads Truth

      Bernadette, thank you so much for sharing this encouragement with us. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Praying for you, friend.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Tina/

      Bernadette, I am so very sorry for your loss. Lifting you up in prayer as you walk this road….God is with you…He loves you still…more so on this journey…He grieves with you…as I do too…
      I have been on this road so should you ever need a sister to call on to listen or chat to, this is my Email [email protected]
      God be with you dearest heart..as are my prayers..xxx

  • 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. I pray everyday that others come to know Jesus as they see his light shine through me in all I say and do. I fail at this more often than I am successful. I also pray this prayer because I am a weak evangelist. I fail to be bold even though my heart is full of testimonies of his work in my life. Then I had a thought as I read today… 2…it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3…pick out from among you… Men of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, who we will appoint to this duty. It hit me that some of us are called to preach and then there are those of us, through our daily intimate service to others, are called to have the face of an angel, shine his light through our actions and words, not from the pulpit, but as we serve tables. I think there are those who will come to Jesus through bold witnesses. But I also know many are repelled by this form of sharing Jesus. I guess God knew this when he created me to be a quiet “preacher.” I pray that God makes me of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom, and uses me each day during my quiet contact with all I meet, makes my face like an angel so that they see him shining through me and come to know him.

    • Emily

      You summed it up more eloquently than I could! That is exactly what God showed me through reading today. Thank you!

  • Yesterday I read Angie Smith’s, “I Will Carry You,” straight through…with tears streaming down my face. When I read today’s post by Lore, I couldn’t help but be stopped by the one sentence, “There is peace for the one who knows there is no bargaining with the God of the Universe.” I saw that in Angie’s story of carrying her daughter, Audrey, through a pregnancy that would end in Audrey’s death. Angie’s gut honesty was a testimony to this truth when she writes that the day of Audrey’s birth was the most peaceful and joyful of her life. How can that be? This is what Angie says about those moments with Audrey that day: “I wasn’t angry. Strangely, impossibly at peace. If you ask me what emotion dominated for the next several hours, I would say it was joy.”

    No bargaining…no fist shaking, or bitterness, simply a falling into the arms of a God whose promises are true. Stephen knew this that day he was faced with his own death. There have been times in my life when I have felt this kind of peace in very unpeaceful situations; but, sadly, there have also been times when I refused to “fall.” It was ultimately my choice, and I praise God that His goodness is not dependent upon mine. What I need to do is learn to “fall faster.”

  • This is devo reminds me of one of Timothy Keller’s podcast sermons, “Christian Happiness.” Keller explained that the “good” mentioned in Romans 8:28 does not refer to circumstantial goodness; it refers to the goodness of our sanctification. This sobering truth is a hard swallow for someone who clung to the prosperity gospel for so long. :( But as believers, despite whatever life throws at us and whether any of our circumstances would fall into place on this side of the Gate, we have an eternal hope and future of knowing Him intimately. I cling to that truth.

  • We serve a God whose actions do not depend on our goodness. Praise God!

  • “But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” (vs 10) Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the words to speak and you don’t have to worry about anything – God will take care of it.

  • Katherine

    Really hit the nail on the head today. Ouch. But so necessary.
    For me, my “goodness” involves doing what I know how in order to become more emotionally/mentally healthy, and yet I still feel incredibly lonely. Also feeling hurt when I’m watching so many I know get married, and I want so badly to experience their happiness.

    It’s frustrating, because I view my discontent as a direct result of the sins I’m struggling with, of the poor decisions I’ve made, and therefore I deserve to feel miserable. That maybe if I weren’t so sinful, I’d get what I want.

    And yet I’m learning that I might just be victimizing myself a little too much, that maybe God is wanting to draw me closer to Himself despite myself, and that maybe my eyes would see more blessing in my life if I shifted my focus away from my frustration and opened my heart a little.

    • jeanne

      Katherine,

      You’re so right when you said that you’re victimizing yourself too much. God doesn’t make your life miserable because of your past sins. You’re 100% forgiven by Him, and live a new life now. It sounds like you’re at a point of growth in your life, and you need to give yourself time to bloom :-) Remember to give yourself grace as well.

    • Alyssa

      Wow. I’ve been experiencing similar feelings. Thank you for your vulnerablity on sharing your story today. I feel encouraged that I’m not the only one that feels the way you do right now in life.

  • Christina

    Thank you God for giving me life today! How may I be of service to you?

  • Sisters I ask you to please pray for me. Today I will be meeting the woman my husband has been having an affair with for over a year. She is moving here and moving in with him before our divorce is finalized. God has called me to treat her with love and forgiveness, just as he loves and forgives her. Please pray the holy spirit dwells in me in a mighty way and I can be a beacon of light to her brokenness. Pray that I can put my kids first in this situation and make them the priority, not my own feelings and thoughts. Thank you ladies!

  • A great reminder that there is no magic formula when serving God. It’s not if we do this plus we do that we will get this. Rather we serve God because our heart is called to it and He equips us to follow him both as we climb on the mountaintops and as we walk through the valleys.

  • Thanks for sharing this! I’m in my twenties and am working at a church. I’ve sinned and broke policy, came forward with both pastors and elders trying to be right with the community I now call home. The church’s goal is restoration which amazes me. But recently my sins, my mistakes has found its way around our church community. Thank you for the reminder of what Biblical leadership looks like (2Tim) and also that this life isn’t trial free.

  • Necessary reminders today, thank you! As I read through the scripture passages and study, I could hear my pastor’s words echo in my head: “Being a Christian is to be on the wrong side of history. A Roman cross is the wrong side of history.” How often I am too comfortable sitting on my sofa with coffee in hand happily meditating on God’s grace and love (all good things, of course) while forgetting that I should not expect their forms and context to be peaceful and easy.

  • This…”There is peace for the one who knows there is no bargaining with the God of the universe.” And this….”We serve a God whose actions do not depend on our goodness.” LOVE!!! And so true! We don’t WANT God’s actions to depend on us! BUT how often we do think we have a formula of we do x = God doing y. Great study today!! Thank you!

  • churchmouse

    Also praying today that my face would reflect the joy I have in the Lord! A grumpy Christian should be an oxymoron!

    • Jeanne

      Yes! I so love that little prayer :-)
      May our faces and actions reflect God’s joy to all we meet.

    • Claire

      I once heard a story of 2 men who were both Christians. They ran into each other and one looked really down. The other asked what was wrong? The man said last week I won £50 on the lottery which is didn’t even enter! The other man looked confused as to why that would make him sad and asked him again what was wrong. The man said 2 weeks ago I got an envelope posted through my door with £100 and I’ve no way of knowing where it came from. Again this just confused the other man more. Why would that make you sad? The man said well 3 weeks ago a distant relative who I had never met left me with an inheritance of £1000. Again surely this is all good news said the other man. No you don’t understand said the first man- this week nothing!

      The story was to challenge us if we are this week nothing Christians. We are so focused on what we want God to do now that we don’t think back and remember all he has already done for us. If we were more to focus on what he’s done what possible reason could we have to be sad. Your post made me think of it because the pastor said that he thought grumpy Christians should be an oxymoron too!

  • churchmouse

    Any one else moved with the qualifications for service and the consecration of those individuals by prayer and the laying on of hands? I was thinking of all the volunteers in my church, the unsung heroes who just show up and serve in many unseen ways. I remember one weary one saying they felt they were simply “a warm body who signed a form and filled a slot.” I’m also thinking I have not seen them honored except with a”thank you ” printed in a bulletin. How overlooked and underappreciated these saints are! I confess my own guilt in not recognizing them as humble willing vessels of God. Time for me to write some thank you notes as well as lift them up in prayer!

  • Kristine L

    I don’t know that I hold to the prosperity gospel when it comes to material goods, but I have held to the idea of “I love God and therefore He will protect me and mine”. Yet this story shows that even the most faithful can lose their lives for God’s gain. My dear friend and spiritual mentor, one of the most faithful women I know, watched her 11-year-old suffer a stroke. Talk about not fitting with my idea of “I love God so nothing bad will happen to me”. But He was so evident in that situation, just as He was there with Stephen. I hope I’m never put to the test. But should that day come, may I stand firm and glowing, knowing the light of my Lord is upon me.

    • SusieT

      “But should that day come, may I stand firm and glowing, knowing the light of my Lord is upon me.” Yes! And beautifully put, Kristine!

      • Patti

        I will not be shaken. That has gone through my head these last few weeks. No, I didn’t watch my child slip away. I didn’t suffer through a failed marriage. But Satan knows my weakness. And it will hit me when I least expect it. Like a sucker punch. A few weeks ago in Bible Study (Sunday School :) I still call it that…) a subject came up that caught me unprepared. Sisters, I limped home feeling the old anger and resentment from childhood. I cooked up a storm – eating my way to comfort. The next day I could barely function. And then it hit me – I will not be moved, I will not be shaken. Satan may through that in my face, but God…… God is for me. He is my strength and my fortress. I feel my strength renewed. I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to rise up! I am a child of the King. Straighten your crown and hold your head up high! Praise God from whom all blessings FLOW.

  • I find some symmetry with verse 15:
    “And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. ”
    and the statement, “There’s a certain type of unshakeable peace for those who are true servants of God, and Stephen knew this before he ever opened his mouth to speak.”
    Not only did Stephen know peace, but the people of the council knew Stephen was good before he even opened his mouth.
    The way God works through people never ceases to amaze me!

  • This is speaking to me today! I don’t think I sit around with my hand out expecting for God to bless me, but I also don’t live as though I’m indebted to Him as I should!!!

  • A little excerpt with some beautiful imagery of what we´re focusing on today.

    “Thou art all my good in times of peace, my only support in days of trouble, my one sufficiency when life shall end.

    Help me to see how good thy will is in all, and even when it crosses mine teach me to be pleased with it.

    Grant me to feel thee in fire, and food and every providence, and to see that thy many gifts and creatures are but thy hands and fingers taking hold of me.” – The All-Good, The Valley of Vision

  • Brittany

    Thoughtfully written devotional. This is the good stuff :)

  • I often try to remind myself that the stoning of Stephen was the catalyst for the expansion of the early church. Without it, the gospel would not have been spread as quickly or as far by the missionaries. We just never know how God will use situations according to his will.

  • A positive attitude is a good thing and knowing God is good is a great thing. But believing God owes you, as I have done in the past, will only bring you to the edge of your faith wondering what went wrong. The truth is that when I was there at that edge what I learned is that the God of the universe is still real even when I run and His pursuit of those He counts as His own is unrelenting-there is no hiding from God. So I have come back to my faith with a more clear understanding of what I believe and that is bad things happen to good people just as they happen to bad people. But in the midst of it all this life does not make sense without God and so I follow where He leads and pray the refining fire is not so hot that I cannot bear it. So no name it and claim it for me-just s simple belief that God is in control today and every day.

  • “Stephen full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. ” Acts 6:8.
    Grace and power. God equipped him with all he would need to stand the trials of life. He needed grace to walk through it in peace and power to stand on what he believed and knew to be true. He equips us in the same way, with all we need to walk through trials in this life. May our hearts show His peace through it all. And as others look upon our faces may they see Jesus at work in our lives.

  • “We serve a God whose actions do not depend on our goodness.” – I am so thankful for this truth. Not much would be accomplished if God had to sit around and wait on us to get our act together. He takes us in our mess. If I can remember this – the grace and forgiveness constantly extended to me- perhaps I can extend it also more freely with open hands.
    Also a good reminder about the prosperity gospel. I think of myself as someone who does not actively follow this ideology- but the more I think of it the more I realize that somewhere I hope there’s something to it..? We are not called to a life of ease, “in this world you will have troubles, but fear not for I have overcome..”

  • “Be full of faith, friends, and full of the Holy Spirit, grace, and power. Do mighty wonders in His name (Psalm 77:14). But do not fear or be surprised when you’re called before the council, when hard things happen, calamity occurs, and difficulties rise. There is a good and strange peace for you there. ”

    Such beautiful encouraging words I needed to hear. May His peace abound today.

    • Claire

      yes I was very much encouraged and calmed by these words too

  • Tamara LaCroix

    I pray that your Holy Spirit falls on me to unblind me from your truth. I will sing praises to you all the day long for you are worthy my God. You have loved me all along and even when I’m dirty you gave me your mercy. Alleluia! Thank you My Jesus my Savior my King.

  • Tamara LaCroix

    I repent my Lord for all the time I made you a small God. I confess that I have been living in the world . I pr

  • God was not in the debt of a man like Stephen or anyone else. It was Stephen—the servant and deacon who performed great wonders in His name—who was indebted to God. We get this backwards all too often…..
    So absolutely true…
    My young grandsons life, at the age of 8,is all about how much he will earn when he is older, it doesn’t necessarily matter how much but it is important to Him that he earns more than his younger sister…He is very competitive..
    So the other day he asks what his uncle does for a living…’An accountant’. I replied…His response is priceless…’WE are millionaires then…’ I explained that 1) the money my son works with isn’t his, and 2), even if it was, HE was the millionaire and not US…as he had worked hard for it, he had earned it …but, he may help us out should we ask, or perhaps from time to time, he may give us gifts of money..or presents….we have no claim whatsoever on his hard earned money…
    I felt this conversation was a good analogy of this sentence that grabbed hold of my heart and mind this morning…
    God, owes us NOTHING, He for sure is not in debt to us one bit…, we, on the other hand…owe EVERYTHING we have to Him who is faithful, kind, generous…who gives us these good gifts, of Grace, Love, the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, mercy, provision, the heart knowledge of HOPE…The old hymn…..’All good gifts,around us are sent from heaven above …’.just came to mind…Thanking and praising right now…
    The thing is, WE are owed NOTHING, absolutely nothing by God..and yet…
    But God…Ah, But God…
    Lord God, praying I may glow as Stephen did, when I am called before the council, when calamities come, when …..
    Happy Glowing Tuesday…!!
    Xx

    • Kelly S

      Tina, this is an analogy I can hold on to. I am so guilty of bowing to worship with my “give me” hand stuck out as if it is a transaction. I struggled (still struggle) against the idea that my relationship with God is not based on economy (an exchange of services for goods), but on grace. Thanks for sharing this story of your grandson’s misperception that so adequately mirrors my own.

  • Christine

    »While He is a good, faithful, kind, and generous God, He’s no puppet on the strings of our whims.«
    Wow. This morning I’ve prayed that God would show me who He is – so that I don’t just focus on what He can do for me, but get to know Him better. And here it is. The souveraign and mighty God, whose son died for me so that I’m no longer a slave to sin, but rather rule over it (Gen4:7). The God who fills me with His Spirit so that I can be transformed into the image of His Son and be a fearless witness for His might and work. Because I am, too, are indebted to God and owe Him everything.

  • Elisabeth

    I loved this devotional and I really needed to hear it. There is no bargaining with God, and it would be stupid to even try it when I know that He has the right plan, even when it brings calamity. God is still there.
    I loved that Stephen’s face was glowing just like Moses face did when He had received the Law. It is quite ironic as the Sanhedrin accused Stephen of blaspheming Moses – that glow on Stephen’s face contradicted the accusers without Stephen even having to start to talk to them!

    • Marianne

      Good thought about Stephen´s glow speaking for itself – never saw it this way …

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