Verse for Today: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Acts 6:15 - All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
When the world falsely accuses us, it is likely that we become tense and disillusioned. It is likely that our face is down cast and we responds negatively. Such occasions exhibit whether we are controlled by our situations or by the Spirit of God. God expects to be Christ-like in our unfavorable circumstances, and not react with curses and abuses like the worldly people. When the world treats us with mockery, despising and ridicule, we must respond with a spirit of humility and forgiveness. God challenges us to respond exceeding gladness because we are privileged to be treated the way the Lord Jesus was treated by the world. When people revile against us, we ought to show joyful expressions rather than getting irritated and upset. If we allow the accusations to control us, we would respond in a reactive way and exhibit irritation and anger instead of praising God which ought to be our natural response. If we are controlled by the Spirit of God, we would react like Stephen when he was falsely accused. In the most trying moments of his life, Stephen did not lose his composure. He didn't react wildly with anger or irritation. He kept his heart at peace with God and rejoiced because of the privilege of being persecuted for the sake of His beloved Lord. His joyful heart was reflected on his face. When he was rejoicing in tribulation, there was no wonder that his face was shining like that of an angel. There was no resentment, irritation or tension on his face, but it was full of godliness.
Dear friend, are you going through a time of false accusation and ridicule by those around you? Are you dragged into controversies and conflicts not because of your fault? Are you forced into face difficulties, tests and tribulations in life? Do you react wildly and show burning anger on your face or do you exhibit peace and rest? Do you spit restlessness like a cobra or contentment like an angel? Will you look like an angry bomb or an angel of the Lord who is worshiping and praising the Lord in His presence? Your expressions in trying times show your true spiritual stature. Your reactions reveal your inner peace in spite of circumstances. It is likely that Stephen knew that his end of was near. Yet he was not agitated, but calm and at rest in the Lord. But he was still very bold to present the claims of Christ to his detractors. He was not shaky or fearful. He knew that either he will win the Sanhedrin for the Lord or that they will execute him which will mean that he will go to the presence of the Lord who suffered publicly for Him. So Stephen knew that either way he would gain rather than loose. Thus Stephen rejoiced in the Lord and reacted in a Christ-like manner. His heart was throbbing for Jesus which reflected on his face. Dear friend, the life of Stephen is a challenge for you to learn from and follow his example in exhibiting contentment in times of severe testing of your faith. Let the people who see you in trying times witness the grace and joy of a true believer in Jesus. Let others see you with a shining, angelic face. Because your times are in the hands of the Lord, you only need to confide in Him and rest as you face tough situations in life by faith.
Isaiah 60:1 - Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
Thought for Today
Our reactions in trying times prove whether we are controlled by the Lord and His Spirit or not.
Prayer for Today
Dear Lord Jesus: Help me to be filled with Your Spirit to enable me to respond to my tough situations in a calm and peaceful manner. Amen!
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