Be Like Stephen

“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. 

Crown

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. 

Your heart. ❥

“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.

Let my words be life Let my words be truth 

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. 

Who is God

Proverbs 2:6-8 gives another meaning as to who God is and what he does by saying “And here’s why: GOD gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.”‭‭

• God gives us wisdom, for free!

• He is knowledgeable and understanding.

• He is our common sense.

• He is our bodyguard. 

• He is keeping watch over us.

• He is paying attention to us.

God is keeping tabs on us. He is keeping up on those who are living honest lives. He is watching closely on those who are completely loyal and devoted to him. Loyalty is a word that keeps coming up on our prayer times. Loyalty and alignment. This verse screams those two words to me. If we are loyal to God and align ourselves up with Him, He can be all those things for us and can do anything for us. We in return have to be loyal to a loyal God. It makes sense to be committed to someone who is committed to you, but it’s something we all struggle with. God is all in. We have to be also. He isn’t going to leave us out to dry when we risk everything for Him. No, He says He is our protector and our shield. He wants the same us when no one is watching compared to when everyone is. He wants us athuentic and true. I know that is something each individual can work on, we are constantly shifting who we are. We must be on full pursuit of Him in order to receive everything He has in store for us. We must portray Christ-like characteristics. It can be hard. It’s an everyday battle between flesh and spirit. I can see Jesus standing in front of us. Our hands are held out in front and all He does is touches them. Our human flesh begins to fall to the ground and we are completely our spirit man. That’s what God is wanting to do. He is wanting to remove the war between our flesh and spirit, and allow us tocompletely  be submerged in our spirit man. I can hear the words “You call me to deeper waters” and “We’re walking into deeper waters.” I keep hearing God say, “Come swim with me.” He wants to take us in deeper waters of praise and worship, deepest waters of prayer, deeper waters of relationship with Him, and deeper waters of who He is. There is more to God, and he wants to share that with us. We have to be loyal, honest, committed, and in alignment with Him for that to take place. 

Nothing and No One

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ‭Romans‬ ‭8:37-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:37-39‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothingnothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.‭‭” Romans‬ ‭8:31-39‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I love these words. In all versions. There is nothing and no one that can come between you and God. You can’t separate yourself from Him because He will never leave you. You can try your hardest to push him way, but He is always there. No force from the enemy or our enemies here on earth can drive us away from Him. He is here for the long haul. He gave His all for us. Someone who gives everything and puts it all out on the line must really love us, and He does. It’s evident in these scriptures. I’ve been hearing the word evident over and over again. Howver, this is the first time I’ve put it together in this way. God’s love is evident, it is so evident. We can never doubt it. It’s there. It’s unending. It’s forgiving. I love how in different versions of this text it reads “No.” No as in don’t fear, don’t doubt, dont worry. No as in you are a victor. No as in we are concquerors, it says so in the text. No as in there’s no need to question it. No as in don’t hesitate. It also says the “overwhelming victory is ours”, not just the victory but the overwhelming victory. Meaning He has so much for us, more than we can imagine. God loves. He will never leave. And it’s those two statements that mean everything. 

Isaiah 58:12 

“Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12
 

Your destiny or calling in life doesn’t have to be that of becoming a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or the titles we hear most common. There are people at work behind the scenes. In this chunk of text the Bible even says “some.” Some as in “Some of you will do this and some of you will do that.” Some as in we all have different paths. We all have different destinies. I think a lot of this scripture. “Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.” You can be a world changer. Being a world changer doesn’t mean you have to go out into all parts of the world, your world is where you are. My world is a small town with one red light, but I want nothing more for it than success. Your task at hand could be to shift and shape your community, to give back to your community. There’s nothing wrong with having a purpose that doesn’t require you to make this huge jump and leave everything behind. Some of us have the opportunity to rebuild and restore right where we are!

Let God Transform You 

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2  

When we choose not to be copies of the world, but to reflect God and be Christlike, God is able to transform us. No one likes to relenquish control, but it’s not our job to take the wheel. If we give God the lead He is able to change everything. He is able to change the things we struggle with everyday such as: thoughts, actions, or words. In an instant He can shift everything going on in our life. We’re also able to grow perspective and have a better grasp on what God has planned for us. It’s not always easy, it’s an everyday battle to not let our human flesh take over. Fight through. See God’s plan for you.

Ignore, Be Free, Respect

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭

• You are going to be slammed because of your faith, because of your walk with God. Not everyone is going to get you. Not everyone will like how you live your life or who you’re living it for. However, God gives us advice on what to do in these situations: He clearly states in His word to ignore the foolishness. What good can come from reacting? 

• We are called to be free. We are not to live in captivity of fear or sin. The word says “Live as free people.” The word is also very wise in what it says next: do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. Don’t abuse the freedom God has given us, we are still suppose to live by God’s commandments. 

• Show respect to everyone. Respect others including yourself. Respect your peers and your family. Giving respect earns your respect.

No Other You

“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.