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July 18th

"And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people....But they could not withstand the wisdom and Spirit with which he was speaking.  Then they secretly instigated men who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God."  And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council.  And gazing at him,  all whist in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel."  Acts 6: 8, 10-12, 15

Persecution has started on the Christians of the Early Church.  Stephen is on the seven deacons that was appointed by the Apostles to minister and serve to the widows who needed food. We see that He is brought before the Council on false charges because he was a follower of Jesus Christ.

Stephen shows us how to handle unfair situations in life, as a Christian.

* Stephen was full of grace!  Grace is something that we all want from God.  We want His unmerited favor in our lives.  God gives us grace and if we are His followers then we need to be grace givers as well.  When we are filled with His Spirit then we give undeserved kindness, love, and mercy, even when we are mistreated.  Lord, help me to give the grace to others that you have given to me.

* Stephen was full of power!  Stephen was used by the Holy Spirit to be a vessel of His power to others.  We see that he would minister to others in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Many signs and wonders were being done by the Holy Spirit through the life and ministry of Stephen.  God will use anyone that is open to the Holy Spirit.  Lord, use me to be able to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit.

* Stephen was full of wisdom!  Wisdom is the application of the knowledge of God's Word!  We need wisdom not to respond and react by our emotions but by the Word of God.  Stephen is standing before the Council and they are judging him and he is full of God's Wisdom!  Lord, give me the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit to be able to minister in wisdom in every day situations.

* Stephen was full of the Spirit!  We read that the Council saw that his face was shining like the face of an angel.  When we are full of the Spirit, it will change our image!  Jesus will be seen in our life and our responses!  Today, Lord let Jesus be seen in our lives!

Stephen was seized and they are planning on killing him, but Stephen was full of the Spirit in the most difficult times of life.  We need to stay filled with His Spirit, because there is no other way to live in victory without the Spirit.  "We can do all things through Christ who strengthen us." 

My prayer today, is that I would decrease and that You would increase in my life, no matter what I face today!

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