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A Man Named Stephen

I would like to draw your attention to a man named Stephen, whom we meet in the Book of Acts.

"Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3).

"They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts

"Now, Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people" (Acts 6:8).

"These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:9-10).

"All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15).

Stephen started his defense with "the God of glory" and ended his message in this manner and with these words:

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look,” he said,…
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Describing God

"Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of Glory appeared to our father Abraham." (Acts 7:2)

One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that God is not described in adjectives or in likenesses. He is described in characteristics of who He is and in terms of what He does. He is the God of glory; He is the God of hope and the God of peace. Daniel described Him to Nebuchadnezzar this way: "There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries." Jonah spoke of Him, "I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."

God is, and God acts. In Hebrews 11:6, we read "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

"Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” (Isaiah 12:5)

Written June 1981.

Two Women, Two Invitations

"Let all who are simple come in here!" she says to those who lack judgment. (Proverbs 9:4, 16)

This quotation is taken from two different persons, Wisdom and Folly. They give this invitation from the same place: "the highest point in the city" (9: 3, 14), and they give it to the same people: "those who lack judgment."

Then a difference takes place. Wisdom offers, openly and honestly, food, wine, and life, but she asks for repentance (9:5-6). Folly offers a lie. "Stolen water is sweet, food eaten in secret is delicious!" (9:17), but does not ask for repentance.

Wisdom gives life. Folly gives death. Folly offers present benefits which are called "sweet" and "delicious." "But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol" (9:18).

Written March 1979.

Who Doesn't Get In

Have you ever thought about who does not enter the kingdom of God and why? Here are a few explicit examples.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)

It is easy not to enter.

The first verse is an example of things to do to not get …

Our Perfect Holiness

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)

The first verse tells us that out of reverence for God we will not touch the unclean, we will cleanse our bodies and our spirits, we will perfect holiness. The second verse tells us that God’s goodness toward us disciplines us toward sharing in His holiness. His goodness and our reverence result in our perfect holiness.

Calling Evil Good

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).

This has been going on since Isaiah wrote this in the eighth century B.C., and probably before. However, now across this country it has reached pandemic proportions. And Christians are involved. It started out with euphemisms were sins were described with words that sounded not so bad.

Adultery = having an affair
Fornication = sleeping around, being “sexually active”
Male homosexual = gay

These words have now become “good,” and political correctness has made those who are critical of homosexuals the bad guys. In other words, evil has become good and good evil.

Being a Father Like the Apostle Paul

We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children…. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thess. 2;6-7, 11-12)

Did you know that the Apostle Paul likens himself to a gentle nursing mother and like a father who encourages and comforts? Are you that kind of a father to your own children? Are you that kind of father to your spiritual children?