Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stephen's faithfulness in trouble

Good morning friends,
Here Stephen concludes his defense with the critique that has been building throughout his speech. The leaders, like their ancestors, have not followed God's calling. Instead they rejected the prophets sent to correct them. They rejected the prophets who foretold Jesus and now have rejected Jesus himself. After delivering this message, to no one's surprise, Stephen is executed. Notice the parallels with Christ's death.

Our Psalm is a prayer of trust in God in hard times. If you're having a tough day or week, this is a good place to turn to remember that others have walked in trouble before and God will be with you.

Blessings on your Sunday,

Acts 7:51-60

51”You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. 52Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. 53You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”

54When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen.

55But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.


Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

1 In you, O LORD, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.

3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God

15 My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.

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