Happy New Week Everyone,
The scripture for this week is Acts 7:50Hath not my hand made all these things?The disciple Steven spoke these words about God as he faced the accusations of the Jewish leaders against the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a church leader, he was faithful to his calling and stood firm without wavering even in the face of death. It is difficult to imagine, but very clear in scripture, that a people would resort to murder for the “crime” of disagreeing with the religious authorities. It was a scene that, unfortunately, had happened before and would happen again.“As Stephen stood face to face with his judges to answer to the charge of blasphemy, a holy radiance shone upon his countenance, and “all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Many who beheld this light trembled and veiled their faces, but the stubborn unbelief and prejudice of the rulers did not waver…He referred to the building of the temple by Solomon, and to the words of both Solomon and Isaiah: “Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool: what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of My rest? Hath not My hand made all these things?”When Stephen reached this point, there was a tumult among the people. When he connected Christ with the prophecies and spoke as he did of the temple, the priest, pretending to be horror-stricken, rent his robe. To Stephen this act was a signal that his voice would soon be silenced forever. He saw the resistance that met his words and knew that he was giving his last testimony.” Ellen White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 99-100Steven was filled with the Holy Spirit. Courage was imparted to Him because He had surrendered His life to Christ. Steven was more committed to the truth of Christ than he was to life itself. Because of His stand, many were touched, including Saul of Tarsus, who was standing by, consenting to His death.We may or may not be called upon to be martyrs for the gospel’s sake, but whatever God calls us to do or be He provides the divine enabling, through His Spirit, to do it. Like Steven, let us remain faithful to the end. God has something so much better than this life in store for us. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.” Romans 14:8 God bless you as you continue in His service.