Good morning and happy first Tuesday of the new year! Last year (last month) we left off with Stephen teaching. I was amazed by Stephen’s preaching power to the high council. His summary was bold and direct, but that is what happens when the Holy Spirit is within you. The council couldn’t disagree with anything Stephen said thus far. Join me as we continue to read Stephen’s response to the council and what we can reflect on.
Bible verse – Acts 7:17-22 NLT
“17 “As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. 19 This king exploited our people and oppressed them, forcing parents to abandon their newborn babies so they would die.
20 “At that time Moses was born—a beautiful child in God’s eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months. 21 When they had to abandon him, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son. 22 Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action.”
Just a little Biblical history:
- These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah (the line Jesus came from); 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
- Years later, the number of Israelites in Egypt greatly increased.
- Exodus 1:9-10 :“the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.
- The king exploited the Israelites and oppressed them.
- But God was bringing forth another person to deliver them – Moses was born.
Sisters and brothers too often we forget about the ram in the bush (Abraham and Issac), the son sold into slavery to eventually save his family and an entire nation (Joseph), or the infant baby that was nearly killed because of an insecure king (Moses). In each circumstances God called them and provided for each one of them. They had a purpose that was greater than them. They accepted the call even when it was difficult, when fear tried to set in, when people talked about them, and when they could have given up because of the odds against them…(this is preaching to me today).
However the greatest thing God provided for you and I is a Savior – Jesus Christ. There will be things in our lives and people in our lives that will try to deter us from experiencing God’s best for us. They will be jealous, vindictive, and hypocritical. There will be times when evil people will plot against you and I, but God sent a deliverer and through Christ Jesus we have been given an opportunity to be forgiven and saved/redeemed. No one can separate us from the love of Godor His greater plan for our lives.
Sisters and brothers, God is still calling people to a purpose that is greater than themselves. God is still calling us to preach/teach His word to the lost, least and last – to all nations. God is still calling us to act justly, to love mercy and to humbly walk with Him. He is calling you?
- Will you answer God’s call?
- Will you surrender yourself to God?
Father God, thank you for your provision over our lives. God, thank you for sending your son Jesus Christ to save us, redeem us, and call us your own. We don’t deserve the level of forgiveness or redemption that you have given us, but your love is so great that it extinguishes all sin. Lord, forgive us for the sins we have committed with our minds, tongues, platforms, and within our hearts. Lord, forgive us for the sins we knowingly committed and also for the ones we did not realize we committed. Lord, only you can wash away the stain of our sins, so Lord wash us and make us clean. Lord, refresh, renew, and restore our spirit to be aligned with your will and purpose for our lives. Lord, help us to look beyond ourselves and begin to love as you love, to have conversations with others as you had conversations with the hurt, lost and overlooked. Lord soften our hearts so that we are not like the high counsel or kings who failed to understand God’s plan or your people. Lord, we want to be part of your greater plan – don’t leave us out. Lord, just so you know, we don’t want to play the part of a wicked person/group – we want to be on your side, the side that will see Your victory. So Lord continue to equip us for the battlefield, suit us up in Your armor, anoint our heads with oil, fill us with Your Holy Spirit, and send us out. We are ready to do Your will today. In Jesus name, amen.
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