TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5
The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation,
and they shook their fists at him in rage.
Acts 7:54 (NLT)
GOD USES COURAGEOUS FAITH
Shortly before the American Civil War, a young lawyer from Vermont settled in Adams County, Pennsylvania. There he witnessed fugitive slaves escaping from bondage, so he devoted himself with all his powers to free those who were in slavery. When the war broke out, Thaddeus Stephens was a powerful influence in the US government. But at his death years later, he was virtually alone. Written on his tombstone in an obscure cemetery are these words: “Finding that other cemeteries were restricted as to race by charter rights, I have chosen to lie in this humble spot, in order that I may testify, even in my death, to those principles which I have advocated through a long life.” (Our Daily Bread)
Stephen in Acts 6 and 7 is one of the most interesting characters in the New Testament. His story is short–but intense. He was the first deacon and the first Christian martyr. Stephen’s passionate and truthful sermon touched many hearts–but it also angered the members of the religious leaders of the day. The leaders figuratively “were cut to their hearts.” Eventually, they would have Stephen put to death.
We must not be surprised if our efforts to do good are met with opposition. Tertullian, one of the early Church fathers of the second century coined the term, “the blood of the martyrs is seed for the church.” History proves the church always thrives and wins when faced with opposition. When has your faith required you to exercise courage?
Praise God for His ability to use even the worst circumstances to bring about the greatest good. Ask God to grow your courage when faced with opposition to your faith.