Yes God


Acts 7:1-34

Acts 7:1-2 Then the high priest asked him (Stephen), Are these charges true? To this he (Stephen) replied, Brothers and Fathers, listen to me!

This might be a good place to start the new year, in Acts. Stephen was a man full of GOD’s grace and power who did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people (Acts 6:8). What do you think it meant that Stephen was full of GOD’s grace and power? Did he carry a large sword? Did he have great muscles and lift heavy loads for people? OR, was he loving and compassionate and forgiving and just wonderful to be around?

Stephen was being himself. He was being loving, providing comfort, forgiving and just being who he thought Jesus (GOD) wanted him to be and he was enjoying it! BUT, some of those around him weren’t. They couldn’t stand up to his wisdom (Acts 7:10). I don’t think Stephen was a smart mouth to those around him…I think he just told the truth…well, the truth as Jesus would have told it. Maybe he said we need to love and accept others. Maybe he said we already have enough and we need to find loving ways to give to others. Maybe he said we need to take care of the sick and clothe the ones without enough clothes for the cold. Maybe he thought everyone would see that love was the way to go, that we could keep giving and not lose out to those around us.

Then the high priest asked him, Are these charges true? And what charges were they? Were they about how he was full of GOD’s grace and power? Or were they unfounded accusations to make him, Stephen, fall in line with the rest of us?

So, Stephen did what he knew best. He spoke to the crowd who were accusing him for he knew they were just like him… Brothers and Fathers… and he told the story of how great our GOD is and what he has done to our family starting with Abraham. And then… like the human being he was, I believe he got a little frustrated with the people who were accusing him, because from his mindset they were the ones who were not following what Jesus had shown us and what Jesus had said. And the crowd stoned him.

As we start the new year, may we come to realize that there is a GOD, a GOD of our mothers and fathers, a GOD of our children… and a GOD who loves us, you and me. Following this GOD should be easy because he is GOD, but the world around us will pull us away and tell us we need more than what this GOD says we need. The world tells us we can easily eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but with this knowledge comes the risk that we will stop seeking a deeper loving relationship with GOD.

May we come to realize in this new year (as Terry Hershey says) that our real life begins today with this GOD who loves us and calls us to love those around us.

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit, open our eyes, and our hearts, and our hands to seeing where and when and how you are with us on this day, in this week, at this moment. AMEN!

Jim Dietvorst

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