by Denise Reed
This Week’s Verse: John 15:19, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (NIV)
Most of us know and love singing the song “Amazing Love.” However, one day as it played on the radio, a certain verse grabbed my attention: “I’m forgiven, because you were forsaken. I’m accepted, you were condemned.”
Then it struck me; what makes us accepted in this world? Are we so worldly that we blend in with everyone else in such a way that no one can tell if we are a follower of Jesus? I knew that this conviction had come from God and it weighed on my mind for the rest of the week.
The very next Sunday we read the story of Stephen in our Sunday School class. The story is found in Acts and it reaffirmed that my earlier insight was from God. Stephen was a man full of God’s grace and power. He was chosen by the other apostles as a disciple of Christ. He did great wonders and miraculous signs, but you know what?
He was NOT accepted by the world. He WAS condemned. Because of his faith he was persecuted and stoned to death. As he died, he mirrored what Jesus said when he died on the cross by saying, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
This man--who was a true follower of Jesus--is a great example for us. Are we willing to stand out in the crowd, or are we trying too hard to be accepted by the world?
Oh, and to top it off, we sang “Amazing Love” during the worship hour that SAME Sunday. Was God speaking to me or what?
Dear Lord, thank you for the great example of Stephen. Help me to never take my eyes off my purpose here in this world. This world has nothing for me, Lord. Help me remember that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This week, let’s make a conscious effort to share God’s love with everyone we come into contact with, even if we think they might shun us, or make fun of us. If we are made fun of, we will rejoice!
Power Verses: 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (NIV)
2 Timothy 3:12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (NIV)
1 Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage was against your soul.”(NIV)