Great adversity brings great triumph

October 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”
(Exodus 10:1-2 (NIV))

Would you have remembered the way God saved the Israelites from captivity in Egypt if Pharaoh had let them go the first time Moses approach him? Would God’s miracles have been able to have been manifested for all of history to read about?

It is highly likely that if Pharaoh had given in the first time Moses came to him asking for the freedom of the Israelites, we would not remember the greatness of God, for He would not have needed to perform the miracles that He did.

Great adversity brings great triumph.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4(NIV))

God is greater than he who is in the world. If Satan can raise his ugly, sinful head, then God will bring about redemption in a mightier way than Satan rebelled. This is always true. When was the last time that you thought you had a winless situation only to find that God delivered you through the situation? You and everyone around experienced the awesome power of God.

Now, consider how much Satan rebelled against God and how the world followed him.

It took a mighty act from God to put Satan in his place!

What was that mighty act? Can you pinpoint the one ultimate act of God that has sealed the fate of Satan?

God hardened the hearts of the people two thousand years ago so that He could be glorified through the death and resurrection of Jesus, His only Son!

Today, we know the outcome. We are only waiting for the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

May 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:51-56 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to take a stand in the face of adversity?

Do you have the faith to speak God’s truth even when it is not physically safe to do so?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

I know that these are tough questions. We all would like to think that we would stand firm in our faith even when faced with danger and even death. It is my prayer that you never have to be put into a situation that requires this type of an answer. It is also my prayer that if the circumstances ever do arise, that each of us would show the faith that Stephen showed.

His faith was rewarded!

He saw heaven. He saw God and Jesus. He was given the assurance that what he believed in was true. Because of this glimpse of the promises that God had made, Stephen was able to face whatever the crowd would do to him, for he knew beyond any doubt where he would be.

We all know that Stephen was then stoned to death. He was faithful to the end.

I am currently teaching an adult Sunday School class, and the topic for what should have only been one week, now going into four, is heaven. This particular passage brought some interesting conversations, with everybody trying to visualize what heaven is actually like. Simply put, heaven is eternity with God, the Father. We have many passages throughout the book of Matthew that tell us what heaven is like. All of these are attempts to explain the awe and majesty of heaven with words that are mortal in nature. This morning, someone said that they hoped that there would be Krispy Kreme doughnuts in heaven because they taste so good. My response was that there would be things much better.

Imagine!

If Stephen was willing to speak out knowing that there may be a chance of death, what did he see in his vision of heaven that made it worth it? We all have our own vision of what we think heaven will be like, and yes, some of those include Krispy Kreme. How far can you allow your faith to see beyond the physical limitations and knowledge and simply embrace eternity with God?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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