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. 

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. 

Out Of My Mind For Jesus

“If we are out of our mind [just unstable fanatics as some critics say], it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for your benefit.”‭‭2 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭

I love this scripture. Our pastor showed this to us Sunday night saying, “I have found the verse for Worship Life.” It could not be more accurate. “Out of my mind for Jesus.” To do this right, to do Jesus justice, we have to not care what the world thinks. Let critics be critics. But I’m going to have fun and rejoice in the Lord. Whether I look like a crazy mad man or not. Go big or go home. The crazier the better. Jump, dance, shout, sing. He loves it all. I grew up not being so free to do things for the Lord. Raising my hand in church was hard enough. Speaking out in church made my insides grow on fire and I just couldn’t get the words out. I thank God for taking me out of that stage in my life. I can see how much I’ve grown and I only want to grow more. I never want to be afraid to speak or dance for God. He deserves everything I have to give him. My best advice if you’re a little shy or just not exactly sure on what to say or do. Is to push yourself. You have to jump right out of your comfort zone. It may feel odd at first or scary even, but that effort pleases God. By being faithful to God, He will be faithful to you. He will take you from your human flesh into your spiritual flesh, where you’re able to block out everything around you and be free. Just you and Him. Push push push. You’re entering in to a new level. God is giving you the “oxygen to breath in new levels,” we spoke these words out on our prayer tour and they’re so powerful. Never be afraid. You have nothing to fear. 

Compassion vs Love

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

Love:

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.

Let me remind you that love will find you

You can’t outrun God’s love. It’s never ending and always there. You may turn your back on God, but he’ll never turn his back on you. His love for you is unconditional. You can never be unloveable you were loved before you were created. You were loved when you were the size of a peanut in your mother’s womb. You are loved now. Your future self is loved. Your whole being is loved. You are so loved that your father forgives you for every wrong. He will always have your back. He always accept your prayers. He always give you another chance. You could never mess up enough to push him away. You can’t turn him off or run from him. No matter how hard you try. No matter if you can’t seem to love yourself. He loves you. No matter what you’ve done. He loves you. “I’ve done too much.” “I’ll never be good enough.” “It’s too late.” All lies. God says you could never do anything to make him not love you. You are good enough. He gave his only son to die for you because you are good enough. It is never too late. Time and time again we find ourselves on our knees at the father’s feet. That’s because no matter how many times we mess up in our human flesh, he’s a forgiving father and he loves. 

“This is the way GOD put it: “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭31:2-6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

“God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:5-6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Your work matters

“With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭MSG‬‬

How comforting is it to know that everything we do serves a purpose, nothing goes to waste when it comes to the father. Sometimes we put in loads of hard work and nothing comes from it. Now we shouldn’t necessarily do things for admiration or praise, but it does feel good to be recognized for your efforts. God realizes that. That’s why this scripture says be confident. Don’t hold back. God wants our all he doesn’t want us half way or a third, he wants everything we have. Every day throw yourself into him. Your random acts of kindness, your morning prayers, your praise and worship, every single bit of it God sees. He sees you pushing through the world and getting to him. Everything you do has meaning. You and your life have meaning. You are not unnoticed. You shine like a bright star to God. Each different, but scintillating. He’s a proud father, looking down thinking man look at my sons and daughters, those are my children! Know you are not going unnoticed and shine like star God sees you as!

Elevated Faith

I recently ordered a nail bracelet off of the website elevated faith. It took a little bit getting delivered, but I’m absolutely in love! “This is real love- not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10. Elevated Faith Website Check out their website there are so many awesome things you can buy! I’m very satisfied with my purchase! 😍

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-4‬ ‭

“But now, GOD ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” In that last sentence the scripture says “I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” He’d give up His creation, what He birthed into existence, to have you, to have your soul. How much greater can a love get. We know God’s love, but sometimes we lose perspective of just how great it is. It’s a love that gave it’s life, a love that never fails it always picks you back up and brushes you off, a love that never abandons you, a love that gives thousands of chances, but most of all a love that promises you an eternity. God is so amazing that it can be hard to fathom or put into words. He will not let you sink. You may have to push and preserver but God’s test come with an amazing outcome when you stick with it, stick with Him!

Just Be Held

“Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held Just be held, just be held” Just Be Held- Casting Crowns 

   Sometimes it’s hard for us to take our own hands off of the situations we’re in and just give them to God. But that’s exactly what he wants us to do. “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10. Here, the word “still” comes from a Hebrew word meaning to “let go” or “release.” The meaning would be best understood to say “cause yourself to become restrained or to let go.” In other words, we need to come to a place where we are willing to submit ourselves to God and acknowledging that He is in sovereign control. The Hebrew word translated “be still” to “take your hands off. “Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7. We must surrender to God. He has never stopped being God so why should treat him like he has. Allow  God to hold you in his arms telling you everything is going to be fine. He isn’t a human who is unreliable. He is God. He is faithful. He holds true to his promises. Psalms 145 verse 13 reminds us of that. “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” So whatever situation you are in, it make sound like you’ve heard it a million times, but just give it to God. You’re his child. Let him father you, hold you in your most desperate times. Never feel alone. You’re wrapped in the arms of someone who will never let you go. 🌻💗 

Be Still and Know That I Am God
Take Your Hands Off

Chicago, Illinois

🏙🌃💗🌬 This past week I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Chicago. I can’t even begin to describe what an amazing experience it was. I’m learning quickly that traveling is something that I am so passionate towards. I’ve never gotten chills just seeing buildings, but Chicago’s beautiful skyscrapers and skyline quickly changed that. I am left with a huge desire to return back to the Windy City one day. I encourage you if you ever have the chance to see Chicago definitely take it! It left me with an amazing feeling of happiness and awe of just how amazing every inch and crevasse of it is. Again I’m so thankful to have been able to go, thank you to everyone who made it possible. I will never forget it. Until next time, Xoxo Macey 💋 Chicago Trip 2016