Sunday, January 30, 2011

Daily devotional: Testimony of Stephen's life

Scripture
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Permenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
Acts 6:5 NIV

Observation
Stephen, who becomes the first martyr of the early Christian church, is a striking individual. First, he was not one of those chosen to focus on the ministry of the word of God (e.g., a preacher, evangelist, or senior pastor), but rather was chosen to bear the responsibility of leading food distribution to the widows within the Church. His work, along with the other six chosen for leading the food distribution, freed up the apostles from this responsibility and thus accelerated the spread of Christianity (v.7). And yet the qualities mentioned about Stephen just in Acts 6 are spiritual and worthy of becoming more like in my own life: he was known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom (v.3, 5, 10), full of faith (v.5), full of God's grace and power—accompanied by great wonders and miraculous signs (v.8), and he visibly manifest God's glory (v.15). Stephen reminds me of one who has put ion the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18).

Application
Let the Holy Spirit fill me—make Him central and large in my life. Be comfortable in the work the Lord has given me. As I live my life in the power of Jesus and the Spirit living in me, be full of faith and full of God's grace so that His power can be visible to others through me.

Prayer
Lord, I reaffirm that my life is Yours. Thank you that You accept me in spite of my continual shortcomings. I pray that You will use me anyways as I elevate You to stay central in my life. Please help me to grow my faith and be full of Your Spirit, grace, power, and wisdom. Let Your outpouring on me overflow visibly to others so that You may gain even more glory. I love you!

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