Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today at school we had the annual See You at the Pole rally before the day started. I have to admit that I was a little scared when I left for work this morning in a bad thunderstorm about how many would show up. So, when I got to work I stood out front to tell everyone that we would meet in the Library instead. And I was not prepared for what I saw when I got there. Talk about a WOW GOD moment! I had the biggest crowd that I have had in the 6 years I had been in charge of this. Now there has been a lot that has been said about having prayer time at school all over the country. And there has been some persecution. And I spoke with my pastor about this and what he said was very encouraging. He told me that it was an honor to be persecuted. Matthew 5:11-12 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." I begin to feel somewhat excited that I got to get a small piece of what all of the apostles and church leaders in the early church experienced.

This got me to thinking about all those who suffered because of their faith in God. The story of a martyr is not one of sadness and pity, but of power and victory. From time to time on this blog I will be posting the story of a martyr for the Lord. Not to gain sympathy for what we believe, but to offer encouragement that we are not alone. That God will also be with us through everything we face. I find it fitting that the first martyr be the subject of my first martyr post; Stephen.

Acts 7:54-60
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep."

Stephen was a devout man of God. The end of chapter 6 of the book of Acts tells of all the wonders, and how that no one could stand against the Word that he taught through the spirit. So the Jews conspired against him and claimed that He blasphemed against Moses and God. (The word blaspheme can also be translated as slander) So, he was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin to be questioned. When he spoke to them, he retold the story of Abraham through all of the prophets, and compared the religious leaders to the Jews that would not follow God and resisted the spirit. For this, He was stoned. However, the part of the story that stands out the most was his attitude. He asked the Lord not to hold this sin against them. With his dying breath he prayed for those who killed him.

There is much to learn here from Stephen. He was not afraid to tell others about Christ. He was bold and courageous. And when it cost him his life, he was not angry at the situation, he was not mad at those who killed him. Yet, he loved them. He prayed for them. I hope that we all can be strong like Stephen. Anytime we face persecution for what we believe, I pray that I can have the same attitude as he did.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You All this week!

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