Acts 6:15 Glowing In The Face Of Slander

All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:15

People who do not like someone else are quick to slander someone else. They want to cut the other person down, in hopes to build themselves up.

One of the most common ways people slander other people is with lies. Lies are spread about the person in the attempt to destroy the person’s reputation and character. How a person responds to those lies will reveal the true character of that person.

Stephen had been preaching about Jesus and many people were beginning to believe in and follow Jesus. Some hated his preaching and spread lies about him. As they brought him to trial, his face looked like one of an angel.

When slander is spread about a person, the most common reaction is anger and retaliation. The person slandered tries to strike back and destroy the enemy out of anger and hurt. This type of action can be seen in the world and inside the church.

Neither Jesus, nor Stephen retaliated in this way. They responded in love, control and the wisdom of God. While it is easy to understand why a person would strike back out of anger, it does not promote the things of God. Striking back in anger does not reveal the character of God.

Believers are to be loving and quick to forgive. Stephen was very calm and at peace when he began to speak in his defense against his accusers.

A soft answer that is filled with the truth of God will destroy the lies and slander of the enemy. It will expose the corruption and plans of the enemy, even if it does not stop the plans of the enemy.

Going through life as a believer will cause you to have some enemies. The world does not like you to stand strong and true to the standards of God and will sometimes do what they can to slander and destroy you.

You have a choice as to how you will respond. Acting like the world, you can respond in anger, fighting back. Or you can act like Jesus, responding in God’s wisdom and love.

God’s wisdom and love will prevail over anything the enemy throws your way. You may or may not lose your life, but you will remain true to God and gain eternal life.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will give you words to speak in light of slander; that God will give you strength to love as He loves; and that you will allow God to control your reactions to the world’s attacks.

Isaiah 7:4 Keep Calm

Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do  not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood–because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Isaiah 7:4

While Ahaz was the king of Judah, the nations of Aram and Israel had worked together to try to destroy the city of Jerusalem. Having two nations together against one, made their armies very large and powerful. King Ahaz and all the people were scared and did not know what to do.

Speaking through Isaiah, God told them to not only be careful, but to be calm and not afraid. They were to no longer shake with fear because of the armies coming against them. God describes those two armies as just pieces of smoldering firewood.

Smoldering firewood is not a very large threat. It can break out into flame and cause a lot of damage, but at the same time it can easily and quickly be put out before it bursts into flame. If a fire is smoldering it only takes a little water to put it out. Once a flame is going, it will take a lot more water to put it out.

As you are going through life, there will be times that there will be smoldering firewood in your life. There will be situations that are brewing underneath the surface threatening to burst into flame and destroy your life.

At times these smoldering pieces of firewood may only be one thing, but other times it will be multiple things all at the same time. Bills, health, vehicles, jobs, family, natural disasters, and the list goes on. Usually it is more than one thing happening that puts pressure on you.

God wants you to trust Him in every situation. When you put all of your trust in God, you will be calm and not afraid. There is nothing to fear when God is on your side.

Jesus paid the price for your life and said He would never leave you. Since He did that, you have a reason to be calm in spite of all the threats going on around you in your life. All those threats are just smoldering firewood that God can control and put out, in His time and way.

Trust God today and be calm.

I pray today that you will know God is in control; that you will know the peace of God in your life; that you will not fear any threats in your life; and that God will calm your heart and mind.

Psalm 57:7 Making Music In Troubled Times

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Psalm 57:7

During times of trouble and hardship, very few people find reason to be happy or to sing joyfully. It is at those times that many people start to sing the blues and complain about what is happening.

Along with singing the blues, many start to have fear in their hearts. The results of that fear is the heartbeat goes up and is no longer steady, causing some health concerns. All they see is trouble and danger ahead, because all they can see is what is immediately in front of them.

Some of these troubles are things that directly affect the individual. Other troubles are those things that people see in news or hear about from someone else. All over the news, all over the world, trouble can be seen. Many are living in fear of the problems that are occurring.

Believers in Jesus should have a different view. Just as God was in front of the Israelites in the wilderness, so He will be in front of every believer today. God is unchanging and steady. Jesus is the rock that is solid and will not be moved by any event in this world.

Keeping the eyes on Jesus will allow the believer to have a reason to sing and make music. Jesus had overcome death and sin, so there is nothing that He cannot do or overcome.

As you turn your eyes on Jesus, you will be able to sing a song of praise and make music to Him, regardless of what is happening in your life. You will see that God is in control. Those troubles will no longer seem as large and scary anymore in light of Him.

As you sing and make music to God, it will also help you keep your focus on Him even more. In doing this, it will calm your heart and keep it steady.

Sing a song of praise to God today. Sing a song you already know, or make up a new song from your heart. He is worthy of all praise!

I pray today that you will focus on God in your life; that God’s love will remove all fear; that you will have a song of praise to sing today; and your heart will be calm in God’s presence.

Luke 8:22-23 Keep Going

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.” Luke 8:22-23

Jesus had told the disciples that both He and they needed to go across to the other side of the lake. It would not be just Himself, or themselves alone, it would be as a group.

Since Jesus had planned to go across the lake in the boat, he went to sleep knowing He would get across.

The disciples, however, were scared when a bad storm rose up. It threatened to flood the boat and cause it to sink. Read the next few verses and you will see the woke up Jesus in fear, and He calmed the storm, and they crossed the lake.

Today, God may be calling you to follow Him across some lake in life. This lake is probably not a literal lake, but a situation in life.

At first it may look calm and easy, and that you will make it across the situation. Then, suddenly the storms of life rise up and everything starts to look like it is going wrong and bad. Everything starts to fail, and it looks like you will be drowned in the problems of life.

You need to remember that if Jesus called you to go somewhere, He will bring you there. If He called you to go through something, you will make it through it.

Jesus never promised the disciples an easy, calm ride across the lake. All He stated was that they were to go across the lake.

Your life will have storms in it that are scary, but you must trust God in bringing you through them. Have faith in God and follow Him all the way. He may calm the storm as Jesus did with the disciples, or He may just help you ride out that storm till you get to the other side.

I pray today that God will calm your heart in the storms of your life; that you will trust God to stay on the path He has for you; that God will give you strength to hold on in the storms; that God will calm the storms in your life; and that God will get you to the other side of your lake.

Matthew 8:26 Why Be Afraid?

“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26

Jesus had just finished preaching and teaching to the crowds of people. He and the disciples got into a boat. Jesus went to sleep. As He was sleeping a large storm comes up and they are in danger of drowning.

The disciples wake Him up in fear. He ask them why they were so afraid. Then He calms the storm.

Most everyone can think of a difficult time in their life in which they were crying out in fear to God.

When you are going through a difficult time it is very difficult to see anything other than the storm going on around them. You feel like you are all alone in the world and that God has left you.

The disciples had felt just like that in the boat. Even though Jesus was there, they felt He didn’t care and that they were all going to die.

Jesus was not worried at all. In fact, remember, He was sleeping. He was calm. He knew exactly what was going on. He had to have felt the boat going up and down, and heard the wind and waves roaring around the boat. Yet, He was sleeping, fully relaxed. Jesus knew God was in control.

As you are going through a difficult time in life you need to have faith that God is in control. God knows exactly what you are going through. If God is not worried, you should not be worried.

If God is truly God in your life, you will allow Him to control everything in your life. This means the good and the “bad” things in your life. What was the worst that could have happened to the disciples? They die.

In reality, death is a good thing. Death removes you from the troubles of this world and ushers you into God’s heaven with Him. As often stated, everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.

If God wants you to die, there is nothing you can do to stop it. If God wants you to live, there is nothing anything or anyone else can do to stop you from living.

Today trust God and be calm that He is in control. Do not worry or be afraid. Follow Jesus and you will win in the end.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in your struggles; that God will fill you with His peace; that you will have faith that God is in control; and that God will calm the storms in your life.