10 August 2009

"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'"

What an amazing passage---there was Stephen, about to be martyred for his faith in Jesus, and God granted him this vision of the Savior standing at God's right hand. It must have given him strength to endure what was about to come, but if you read a little farther, it says that Saul was standing in the crowd watching. Saul, the persecutor and murderer of Christians who later became a follower of Christ---may have approved of Stephen's stoning, but as he stood there and witnessed to what he saw, perhaps a seed was planted in his heart. That is speculation on my part, but the vision Stephen had is powerful indeed. He lived his faith to the point that he was willing to be martyred. Most of us will never be called to martyrdom, but I think of how many times I have failed to be a good witness with my actions or my words, and when I think of Stephen, I am inspired to do better. I may never be called to die for my faith, but every day I am called to die to myself and live for Jesus.

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