“Stephen, brimming with God’s grace and energy, was doing wonderful things among the people, unmistakable signs that God was among them. But then some men from the meeting place whose membership was made up of freed slaves, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and some others from Cilicia and Asia, went up against him trying to argue him down. But they were no match for his wisdom and spirit when he spoke.
- Stephen: He was full of Holy Spirit. Scripture even states “brimming” which means- to be full to the point of overflowing. He was full of energy. It was obvious that God was within him and the works being done. He was full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit when he spoke.
- Reflection: Stephen shows us how we should be as christians. We should be so full of Holy Spirit that we’re overflowing. We should be energetic, ready to take on the day and to bring people into the Kingdom. Our words should reflect wisdom and the Holy Spirit when we use them. Our lives should be evident that Christ is our vocal point. Our actions and who we are should display God 100%.
So in secret they bribed men to lie: “We heard him cursing Moses and God.”” Acts 6:8-11
- Stephen: Faced people who came against him. They wanted to argue him down.
- Reflection: We as christians will face the same kind of people today. People who are against what we stand for. They will try to tear us down. It’s not always going to be easy, people aren’t always going to like us.
“As all those who sat on the High Council looked at Stephen, they found they couldn’t take their eyes off him—his face was like the face of an angel!” Acts 6:15
- Stephen: Stephen reflects God. His face was like the face of an angel.
- Reflection: What do people see when they look at our face? God or the world?
“At that point they went wild, a rioting mob of catcalls and whistles and invective. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed—he only had eyes for God, whom he saw in all his glory with Jesus standing at his side. He said, “Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!””Acts 7:54-56
- Stephen: Amidst chaos he only had eyes for God and was still full of the Holy Spirit.
- Reflection: No matter what we face in life we should keeps our eyes glued on God and be full of His spirit just like Stephen!
“As the rocks rained down, Stephen prayed, “Master Jesus, take my life.” Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin”—his last words. Then he died.” Acts 7:59-60
- Stephen: Stephen was persecuted by the people, but even so he prayed for them. His last words were a prayer for someone else, someone who had hurt him to the point of death.
- Reflection: Wow. Be like Stephen. That is what I gather from all these scriptures. Even when people are saying the nastiest things to us or beating us down to our breaking point, pray for them. We’re quick to want revenge or feel hate. Stephen didn’t. He prayed. How amazing is that? How hard can that be for us? To pray for the people who hurt us. It’s inspiring to read of what Stephen did. Let us pray for those and love those who come against us. Matthew 5:44 says “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” and wow can that not be hard to do. Strive to be that kind of person, a person like Stephen- Full of Holy Spirit, Eyes completely on God, Loving and Praying for your enemies.
This morning God showed me a vision of a crown of thorns placed in the middle of this empty white space and surrounding it were many other crowns. They’re were all different shapes and sizes. They had different jewels on them. They were scattered everywhere. I felt God say that we are apart of His kingdom. We are heirs to him. We have royalty running through our veins. All we have to do is pick up our crown and claim the victory. Claim the Power of Jesus. Later on in prayer I began to see that each crown had a different word on it. Such as: joy, hope, peace, comfort, forgiveness. God is saying whatever it is you need pick up your crown and wear it. You have the victory and power.
“Even hell holds no secrets from GOD — do you think he can’t read human hearts?”Proverbs 15:11 MSG
God can see behind the mask. He sees the purest and true heart of a person. Your darkest thoughts, deepest secrets, they’re all out in the open with Him. There are no secrets kept from God. For Him it’s like reading an open book. It’s all very clear. Re-evaluate yourself. What is in your heart? Are you holding on to things you need to let go of? Are worldly things taking up God’s space? It’s always good to take a step back and check yourself. Where are your intentions and are they true. You have to learn your heart, God already knows it from left to right. Take that as a security. No matter what others say, God knows the real you, your heart. The heart of a person reveals everything. Only worry about what God is seeing, not what others are saying.
Hawk Nelson- Words
“Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise.”
“Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow.”Proverbs 12:18-19
Proverbs 12:18-19 MSG
When a person is careless with their words reacting before thinking can be a result. The phrase “Think before you speak,” comes to mind. If you’re rash with your words, it’s the complete opposite of that phrase. Words are powerful. The book of James talks about your mouth being a rudder. One part of that scripture even says “Do good and bad water flow from the same spring?” The same mouth we use to speak highly of others is the same mouth we use when we choose tear them down. Proverbs is full of wisdom. Literally, the word wisdom is used on several occasions. The text says “Rash language cuts and maims.” Our words can cut into people. You can do much damage with the language that comes out of your mouth. BUT you can also bring healing. You can uplift and edify the body of Christ. When also speaking about our words and mouth, truth and lies are important. This scripture says “Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow.” Lies are temporary, the affects are long term, but the truth always comes out. The truth last forever. Lies are so pointless from the get go, but in some form or fashion, we tell them everyday. Our words have meaning and truth. We shouldn’t abuse that by trying to altercate lies. Don’t waste time on a lie. The truth is as good as it gets. Be careful with your words, with what you say and how you say them.
I happen to come across this picture while scrolling through Pinterest, which by the way is an addiction in itself! I felt not only that it was for me, but to be shared also. Here is your sign! Whatever came right to your mind, here is your answer. Whatever it may look like to you. Here is your encouragement to know you can. Here is how you know you will make it through your bump in the road. I believe in signs from God. I believe God can speak to us in crazy ways. The lyrics “Sign sign everywhere a sign” come to my mind, maybe with a different meaning than orginally intended. Nevertheless, look for signs! Look right here. Whatever you’re facing, whatever decision you’re not sure to make, wherever it is you’re not sure to go: this is it! Take this as your sign. Don’t think too much into it, just go for it. If it sounds crazy, it is crazy. That’s the fun in it! Take your leap, make the jump. Go for it without fear! #HereIsYourSign
Today was our senior skip day! 🎉 It was pretty clear to all of us that the Zoo had to be the place go. We all met up at Chick Fil A and then car pooled our way to the Birmingham Zoo. Our first encounter was the Giraffe Feeding Zone, possibly my favorite part! We had the privilege of feeling Mr. Jalil. Quoting the sweet worker who helped us if you haven’t fed a giraffe before “What have you been doing all your life?” My next favorite part, the flamingos! They didn’t care to be fed today, they wanted lots of sleep as most of us did too. Next we hit up the Lorikeet Feeding. A lorikeet landed on my head as soon as we got inside! It bonded with me I guess because it didn’t leave for quite some time. It even crawled down to the end of my hat and looked down at me… (I sound a lot calmer than I was at the time.) There were so many great exhibits and animals at the zoo. Including the Komoda Dragon who just couldn’t seem to get one little mouse, maybe he did eventually. After the Zoo, we found the cutest burger joint, Twisted Root Burger. Delicious! 🍔 When you ordered the ticket you received had unusual names on them such as: Ferris Bueller and Gwen Stafani. Our ticket said “Eminem/Slim Shady.” When they called our order out they said “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up.” I found that to be hilarious, almost as much as the holla back girl. Then we were off to swim. Which to make clear, was not the warmest. However, it was a blast as well. Especially playing hot potato, or me attempting to play successfully. Tanner and I finished the day with breadsticks and Netflix, and today has been my definition of a perfect day. I’m very grateful knowing I’ll have this memory to look back on forever. Happy skip day everyone! ☀️
Processed with VSCO with k3 preset
Processed with VSCO with k3 preset
Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Processed with VSCO with a4 preset
Processed with VSCO with k3 preset
Processed with VSCO with a4 preset
Processed with VSCO with a4 preset
Processed with VSCO with 5 preset
“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for His followers, oh, the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:15-19 MSG
God has a plan for your life. He wants you to flourish. He has created you and only one you. You have a purpose and a destiny. No one can fulfill the plan for your life but you. There is no other you. You are one of a kind. No one else can do what you are called to do in life. That is why you are so important. The world needs you. You are the missing piece to the puzzle. You are special. He gives you energy and strength to take on each day of your journey. Prosper! Be a victor! Be focused! The same words in the book of Esther apply to you also:
“If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 HCSB
Who knows? Maybe your time is now. Don’t miss it by giving up or turning away from who God has called you to be. Have endurance, be persistent. There is no other you. The world needs you. It needs your creativity. It needs your talent. It needs your work ethic. It needs everything you have to offer, you are not a waste. You are everything. God needs you. He needs you be the real you. He needs you to step into your calling. You will change circumstances and lives. God needs your help. If you are who has planned for you to be, then you’re working in His plan. He needs your help in completing the works that He has for the world.
“You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, GOD is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again. But I’m in the very presence of GOD — oh, how refreshing it is! I’ve made Lord GOD my home. GOD, I’m telling the world what you do!” Psalm 73:25-28 MSG
God, I’m telling the world what you do! Are you telling the world what God is doing for you or what he has done for you? We spend so much time complaining about life, about things we don’t have, or things we wish were different. Do we ever talk about the good? Rarely. I’ve caught myself falling into this at times. There is so much good to discuss though! I’m breathing! I’m alive! I have a purpose! I have a destiny! God created me for a reason. He created you for a reason. He is doing something in your life at this very moment even if you don’t realize it yourself. Speak of the positive things in life! Speak life into your situations! A positive mindset= a positive mind. In the wise words of One Tree Hill: “Happiness is not a destination. It is a mood, it is not permanent. It comes and goes and if people thought that way then maybe people would find happiness more often.” Be happy! Be happy in times where your mind and body wants so bad to be mad/sad! Think of the good. Be thankful for everything. It make be difficult. It may sound crazy. Everything we overcome is apart of our testimony, I’m thankful for the battle scars. I’m thankful that God has shown me time and time again that when the world tries to take me or people I love out, that it is never over. It is never over, there’s more. There’s more to your life! If your facing a bad hand right now, you will get through it! You are an army dressed for battle! You’re An Army
Compassion:– sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
* The word “compassion” is mentioned 40 times in the Bible.
Scriptures to back up compassion:
- “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
- “I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Exodus 33: 19
- “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.” Isaiah 30:18
- “says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
1. an intense feeling of deep affection
2. a person or thing that one loves.
The word “love” is mentioned over 100 times in the Bible.
- “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High.” Luke 6:35
- “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
- “Love must be sincere.” Romans 12:9
Without compassion we cannot truly love and without love we cannot truly have compassion. Compassion is an act of selflessness. Compassion is when we care for others without caring what we get in return. Compassion stirs up our emotions. We grow connections to people through compassion. We feel what others feel through compassion. We relate to others with compassion. Love is how we deal with our compassion. It is how we put compassion into practice. It is how we build relationships. God tells us to love. He tells to be compassionate. He says it time and time again in different several different wordings. Compassion comes from a pure heart. Love comes from a pure heart. The two are wrapped into one. They both must be sincere. Love your neighbor, God says. When dealing with rough situations and difficult people, be compassionate. Know that underneath the face you’re looking at is pain and hurt you know nothing about. Love without making people work for it. Showing love can change someone’s life. If we only showed love and compassion to people who were always nice and perfect, we would reach no one. It’s people with troubled spirits and hearts who need to see God’s love and compassion the most. God is working through us to speak to his people. No matter how difficult they may be, they could be the ones who need it most. Pray for others. Pray for the people you want to give up on, because even though we may fail each other, God doesn’t. He doesn’t ever up on anyone us. God shows us compassion and love every minute of every day. Our testimony derives from the two. We walk on both. They are our foundation and fundamentals. Two words, but the same thing. Have both. Be both.