June 26

Acts 7:44-60

Stephen has referred to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. He has quoted Scripture. He has testified of Jesus. He has given a rebuke to his accusers. He is martyred.

Was Stephen in faith? If so, then why did he die? Isn’t protection part of our covenant promise? Faith isn’t about a life of comfort and ease. Faith isn’t just about me, me, me. Faith is reliance upon God to the point of obedience. Faith is about surrender and coming to an end of self.

Did Stephen rely on God? Yes. Did Stephen obey God? Yes. Stephen was murdered because of the opposition against his message of Jesus. He died because we live in a world where evil exists. He died because his body was temporary, but Stephen’s life did not end that day – he merely moved on from this life to the next. Stephen was privileged to see into the spirit, seeing Jesus and the glory of God before he left his earthly body.

People are still being martyred today. Jesus told us that His followers would be persecuted and some would even be put to death for His sake. You may never have to face what Stephen and others have faced, but you may be persecuted, or mistreated for your faith. People may withdraw from you, ridicule you, argue with you, or slander you for your faith. If they reject Christ, then why would we think they wouldn’t reject us? Persecution can come from your own friends, community, or family. If this is true for you, Jesus told us that we should consider it an honor and a joy to represent Him. There is a reward for serving Jesus, so let’s keep loving Him and loving people.

Job 7-9

In chapter 7, Job expresses his need for comfort. He has lost his family, his health, and his wealth. His wife and his friends have not been comforting, but condemning. Job did not sin, but he is being told he must have sinned, so he asks, “Have I sinned?” and “Whey then do You not pardon my transgressions, and take away my iniquity?”

In chapter 8, Bildad speaks of God’s justice. He understands that Job doesn’t know what he has done to sin against God, so he encourages Job to seek God to find out his sin and then repent of it. In chapter 9, Job agrees that God is good and just. Job isn’t perfect. We all have been born into a fallen nature. Job feels he needs a mediator between God and himself. He felt he was at a distance from God. He needed help to reconcile with God.

We can relate to Job’s need for a mediator. The Bible says “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Today we know that Jesus is that Mediator, the go-between, the priest that came to reconcile us back to God. Jesus continues to offer intercession for us at the right hand of God, standing in the gap for us, allowing us to enter into right standing with God in a union with God. Praise the Lord!

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