Righteous God, may all I say and do this day be worthy of one who calls himself a Christian.
Read Acts 6:8-15
 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.  Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)-Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia-who began to argue with Stephen.  But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.  Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”  So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.  They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.  For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”  All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectIn what way was Stephen described here?
There is a common trait among us humans: a desire to stand out from the crowd, to be noticed. Stephen was a man who stood out from the crowd without even trying. We saw yesterday that the believers had noticed him; today we see that he has also come to the attention of those outside the church. He wasn’t noticed because he wanted to be famous, but because of the life of God which flowed through him. So what was special about Stephen? We read yesterday that he was “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (6:3) and “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (6:5). Now we are told that he is “full of God’s grace and power” (6:8) and speaking with wisdom and with the Spirit (6:10). Stephen stands out because he is like Jesus. He is full of the Spirit of Jesus, saying the kinds of things Jesus had said and doing the kinds of things Jesus had done. Sometimes standing out has good outcomes–like Stephen’s special appointment. But other times standing out because of your “Christ-likeness” can result in criticism, rejection and persecution. Is it worth the risk? Stephen seems to have thought so.
In what ways could you become more “full of God’s grace and power”? How will you begin to reach that goal?
Lord Jesus, I pray that Your Spirit will work in me to make me more like Stephen–and like You.
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