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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ouch! That hurt!

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spiritsand live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11

Watching "The Bible" mini series on TV the past month or so showed the disciples being persecuted in many ways.  Our youngest son, Tyler, was especially interested in the stoning of Stephen.  "Why was he stoned?", he asked.  "Why did they show his eyes shining?"

Stephen was stoned for his message - a message that began with Abraham and went all the way through to the crucifixion of Jesus. Stephen said:

You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” Acts 7:51-53

The members of the Sanhedrin had heard enough.  They were furious at Stephen and began to stone him.  In my opinion, "The Bible" didn't show Stephen's face "shining", but they did make his eyes appear to be shining - that is what Tyler noticed.  The Bible says that Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit.  He saw heaven.  He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  

Stephen died that day - persecuted for telling the people about Jesus - the truth about Jesus.  He pointed out their sin and they didn't like it.

Have you ever been persecuted for being a Christian?  When you read the top scripture, you will see that it says we should endure hardship.  It goes so far to say that if we do not endure hardship, we are not legitimate - not true sons and daughters of God.  Perhaps if we are not enduring hardship, we are not making a bold enough stand for Christ!  Maybe we're staying silent too often.  Maybe we're just going along with the crowd....or the world.  

Suffering, it says, produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. I want righteousness and peace, don't you?  Does it seem strange that the Bible says that suffering produces those things?  It's not really the way we like to think about becoming righteous and having peace, but it is part of God's plan...so we must have faith in those words.

What are you standing up for today?  In what ways can you be bold for Christ?  Allow God to discipline you as His child.  Allow Him to work in your life - to produce righteousness and peace.


1 comment:

Wa Wa Waughs said...

I agree with you, and it seems very hard to this girl who was raised to be a quiet servant!

 
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