GAZE INTO HEAVEN
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Acts 7:55 (NKJV)
Stephen was the first Christian martyr. His indictment against the Jewish leaders for the murder of Jesus angered them, and they hurled stones at Stephen until he died. His last words were of forgiveness toward his murderers (Acts 7:60).
Like many martyrs, Stephen faced death without fear. First, he focused on God. He took his eyes off his problems, and he put them on God. Many times we put our focus on the trial at hand.
Next, Stephen was full of faith (Acts 6:5). He completely trusted God for his life and his death. He could not see how God was going to use his murder to spread the gospel by scattering the church or how God would use it as a testimony to a man named Saul, better known as Paul. Yet, he trusted God’s plan.
Third, Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit totally controls our minds and bodies, we will be obedient. Therefore, Stephen was able to forgive his murderers at the very moment of their offense.
Friend, the same Holy Spirit that lived within Stephen, lives in you. We don’t believe we can face persecution and death. We feel like we cannot face the trials we have today. You may be facing the loss of a loved one. You may be in a battle with cancer. You may feel the weight of a financial burden. Did you know that God gives us the grace exactly when we need it? “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pet. 4:14). It is the grace that we live and die by. Some call it “dying grace”. I choose to call it “amazing”.
Dear heavenly Father,
Help us to never take our eyes off You. Today, as I face this trial, fill me with Your Spirit and faith. Thank You for Your amazing grace. Amen.
“My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” Ps. 25:15 (NKJV) Read Acts 7:51-60.
HIKING THE TRAIL
Is there a problem that you are focusing on rather than putting your eyes on God? What can you do this week to look through the eyes of faith toward God? Pray for increasing faith
. Copyright 2014 Carolyn Dale Newell