Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.

Be Ready!

Be Ready!

Why does the Lord want us to be ready to tell people about salvation at a moment’s notice?  One reason is that the Lord is not willing that any should perish; He wants everyone to be saved.  (2 Pet 3:9)

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  (2 Tim 4:2)  He wants us to be ready whether it’s convenient and whether it’s inconvenient—when the world mentality (at any given time) is “pro-Christian” or “anti-Christian.”  Our heart attitude should be eager to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.  (2 Tim 2:3-4)  The warfare in which we’re engaged is to share the gospel with as many people as possible, regardless of their response or reaction.  Leave that part in God’s hands.  When we accepted Christ as our Savior, we were automatically enlisted as a soldier in the army of the Living God. 

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men . . .  (2 Cor 3:2) Not only do we share the gospel with our words, but we share it by the lives that we live.  People will read us as easily as they read a book or a letter. 

What are you sharing through your day-to-day life?  Is your readiness joyous and filled with hope and courage?  If so, then it will be good and edifying to read!

Know God = Have Strength & Courage

Know God = Have Strength & Courage

Pursuing a deep, profound knowledge of God and His nature will impart courage and strength to your soul.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Josh 1:9)

. . . the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.  (Dan 11:32b, emphasis added)

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.  (Mt 11:12)

. . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”  (Ac 14:22)

The better you know God, which is a consequence of studying the Bible and spending time in the presence of the Lord, the greater courage, strength, and boldness you’ll have to serve Him. 

  • You’ll have boldness to be His ambassador on the earth, enforcing the will of God on earth as it is in Heaven. (Mt 6:10) 
  • You’ll have courage and authority to step out in faith and heal the sick, preach the Word, and to testify of God’s love for all mankind. (Deut 31:6; Ps 27:1; 56:3-4; Isa 41:10, 13; Mt 10:1; Mk 6:7; 10:8; Lk 9:1-2; 10:19)
  • Lastly, you’ll have the strength and perseverance needed to pass through tribulations, and to enter the kingdom of God. (Ac 14:22; Col 1:11; Phil 4:13; Ro 15:5)

Deepen your relationship with the Lord so that you KNOW Him deeply; and become bold, strong, and courageous today!

Power to Serve

Power to Serve

Here are a handful of Bible verses about:

  • God, who has power and uses it;
  • God gives strength and power to His people;
  • Jesus, who demonstrated his power by many mighty miracles; &
  • Jesus sharing His power with His disciples (and us).

O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!  (Ps 68:35)

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  (Isa 40:29)

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.  (Mt 10:1)

Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power.  (Mk 3:14-15)

And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.  (Mk 6:7)

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.  (Lk 9:1)

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  (Lk 10:19)

For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.  (1 Cor 4:20)

Jesus called His disciples together to commission them to preach and to impart power to them.  Luke 9:1 says that He gave them power and authority; and Luke 10:19 says that our power can triumph over the enemy and protect us from harm.

We have been given this power to SERVE–in order to testify of Jesus and to preach Good News to all.  We are called to serve the Kingdom of God from the moment that we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

What a joy and a privilege to serve Jesus!

Watch & Prepare

Watch & Prepare

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.  (Mt 25:13 NKJV)

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.  (Mt 24:42)

The Bible verses above remind us to be aware of the return of the Lord—to have a watchful frame of mind and heart.  It’s a good idea to watch and to be expectantly, eagerly awaiting our Savior’s return. Here are two good tips for doing that:

  • In holiness, we prepare ourselves for His coming;
  • Meanwhile, we continue to preach the Good News (gospel) to all mankind.

The Lord instructed us to be holy (Lev 11:45; 19:2; Nmb 15:40; Rom 12:1; 1 Pet 1:15, 16), because we serve a holy God.

In obedience to the Lord, we serve the Kingdom by sharing the gospel with everyone—right until the moment of Jesus’ return.  Lastly, we want to maintain a vital, loving relationship with the Lord Jesus!