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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To Live is Christ

I decided this summer to start a new bible study- on my own. It is a Beth Moore study- I am in my second week and it is on the life of Paul. So far it has been very good- today’s time in the Word was on the life of Stephen. You know the very first martyr for Christ. Stephen's story in scripture is very short but very powerful. In the end, he was stoned to death and his last words were similar to the last words of Jesus. “Lord do not hold this sin against them.”

Forgiving someone is not easy but to ask forgiveness of the very people who are killing you. Do wonder wow- how could he? He could have easily asked for the Lord to vindicate him. To make those people who were stoning him suffer for the pain they were causing him. Instead, he asked for God’s mercy to be upon them and for him to not bring judgment down for what they were doing.

Why would Stephen do that? Why would he not ask to live? Why not beg God to stop this and intervene? Stephen realized his life was just a vapor that appears for a little time a vanishes away. He found no value in his life or his physical body. He desired to do the will of God with not only and open heart but arms spread wide. Knowing in the end that he would stand before the throne of Glory and see the face of Jesus. What better reward in life is death.

In our society, “ we tend to equate victory with survival”. The cancerous patient finds victory, after destroying their body, losing their hair, and barely surviving chemo or radiation, if they live, and have no cancer left. The destruction that occurs in the process doesn't matter as long in the end, they can still breath. “To overcome peril is synonymous with living through it.” This mentality we have is such a temporal one. From the eye’s of God when we die for the sake of Christ, as Stephen did, it is the most awesome calling of all. ( I am not saying if you have cancer you should not do chemo or radiation- it was an example of how tightly we hold on to our lives over dying. We would endure anything to live)

The truth is this life is fleeting and as Believers, we are to keep our eyes upon Jesus- holding tightly to Him, and not ourselves. In the end, Stephen’s body broke, and "he laid there covered in blood- Jesus’ blood.” His life glorified the living God all the way to the very end. Never trying to cling to life but being willing to surrender it all for Jesus.

What a testimony!

Are we willing to surrender it all for Jesus?

quotations from: To Live is Christ by Beth Moore

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