I go to several different places each week where the Word is shared in one fashion or another, from Sunday mornings at church, to the Bible study I regularly attend, to other odds and ends here and there where I show up, and each week there is always something said during at least one the events that makes me think, encourages me and/or challenges me, so I thought that maybe every now and then I could pass along those encouragements and challenges to you, as my brothers and sisters in Christ, to maybe..... well, encourage and challenge you....
My friend EJ was speaking and he said something that really made me think. He said one of his favorite characters in the Bible is Stephen, and EJ recalled in Acts the passage about Stephen's death. Stephen was a radical character in the eyes of the Jewish leaders, and his claims that Jesus was in fact the Messiah made the leaders angry enough to yank him outside and stone him.
Check this out, this is awesome... Its says in Acts 7:55, "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"
We've always heard about Jesus being seated at the right hand of God. But Stephen saw the Son of Man standing, and EJ smiled and said he likes to think that Jesus was giving Stephen a standing ovation.
Can you imagine... the Son of our God, the creator of the universe, giving someone else a standing ovation? And as awesome as Stephen was, he was a sinner just the same, and Jesus was standing FOR HIM!
I tried to think of the last thing I've done, short of dying for my beliefs, that would warrant a clap from Jesus, much less a standing ovation, and I have to tell you, I came up kind of short there...
Here's the challenge. Although it seems highly unlikely that we would have to die for our faith like Stephen did, we should be vocal in words--and especially in actions--about our faith, like Stephen did. And who knows... somewhere in the background, you might hear the hand clap of His only Son.
Have a good week!
Your friend, Dave