Our Daily Bread: Forwarded
- READ: Acts 6:8-15; 7:54-60 Appended
Look! I see . . . the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! - Acts 7:56
Susan Boyle spent most of her adult life living with her cat Pebbles, caring for her aging mother, and singing in church. She certainly didn't look like a musical superstar. That's probably why the audience laughed at this unassuming middle-aged woman before she performed in a talent show. Undeterred, Susan faced the unfriendly crowd, sang beautifully, and went on to receive a standing ovation.
Stephen was confronted by a hostile crowd in the days of the early church (Acts 6:7). A panel of religious authorities listened to lying witnesses accuse him of blasphemy (Acts 6:13). Stephen responded by speaking the truth of God's Word, which reinforced his faith in Christ. At the end of his speech, he said, Look!
I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!(7:56). Then the crowd stoned him (v.58). Jesus, who was watching from heaven, welcomed Stephen home.
Most Christians aren't confronted with this much hostility. Yet we all need to stand fast in the Lord� when the pressure is on (Phil. 4:1). We can't let others silence our voice for Christ. Speaking up for Jesus does not always win the crowd's favor here on earth, but it does ensure His approval in heaven, where it matters the most.- Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle—the next the victor;s song.
To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be:
He with the King of glory shall reign eternally. - Duffield
If you meet opposition, maybe it shows that you are doing something that counts.
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia who began to argue with Stephen.
10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him
as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.
14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.
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.
- READ: Psalm 31:9-15
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! —Psalm 31:9
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the US on
September 11, 2001. It’s hard to think about that date without mental
images of the destruction, grief, and loss that swept over America and
the world following those tragic events. The loss of thousands of lives
was compounded by the depth of loss felt corporately—a lost sense of
security as a country. The sorrow of loss, personal and corporate, will
always accompany the memory of the events of that day.
Those horrific events are not the only painful memories of September 11. It
also marks the anniversary of my father-in-law’s death. Jim’s loss is
felt deeply within our family and
his circle of friends.
No matter what kind of sorrow we experience, there is only one real
comfort—the mercy of God. David, in his own heartache, cried to his
heavenly Father, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body!” (Ps. 31:9). Only in the mercy of God can we find comfort for our pain and peace for our troubled hearts.
In all losses, we can turn to the true Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who alone can heal our brokenness and grief. —Bill Crowder
We have a Friend
who’ll never leave,
Who’s closer than a brother;
He’s there to meet our deepest needs,
To comfort like no other. —Sper
When God permits suffering, He also provides comfort.