Monday, June 23, 2014
Gathering in Christ
Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of Freedmen... disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist ye wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, and they cam upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us." And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly a him, saw his face as an angel.
Persecution is systemic vexation; it does not leave you alone; it is something that throngs you; but to be boycotted means to be left alone, destitute of the comrades you used to have. “They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” But they don’t know that you carry a wonderful kingdom within, a kingdom full of light and peace and joy no matter how destitute and alone you may be on the outside. That is the wonderful work of the Lord in a man’s soul. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
When you first deport yourself among men as a saint, they will leave you absolutely alone. You will be reviled and persecuted. No man can stand that unless he is in love with Jesus Christ; he cannot do it for a conviction or a creed, but he can do it for a Being he loves. Devotion to a Person is the only thing that tells; devotion to death to a Person, not devotion to a creed or doctrine.
Excerpts from Oswald Chambers
Daily Devotional Bible, Reading 174 (6/23)
From Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
This photograph is by Jo Chaney.