Happy Monday friends! I am sorry this is coming out so late. I have exhausted my reserve of prepared Devotions and tried to write this entry after working all night, but I could not keep my eyes open and provide anything of quality, so after a quick nap, here we are! My family and I caught three amazing services on Mother’s Day, and I will be sharing them throughout the week, starting with Elevation Church, as they are the only one with their service posted on YouTube as of the publishing of this blog. I continue to pray a blessing over all of you, that you stay healthy and your family and friends stay healthy as well. God bless you all!
This week I will do my best to include some relevant discussion about current events unfolding across our nation. And I’ll continue to share some of the amazing new music released this week, such as the song below:
51”You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him- 53you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”…
…While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:51-60)
Acts 7 covers Stephen’s speech before the people, elders, and teachers of the Jewish law. Stephen is just introduced to us in the previous chapter as “a man full of God’s grace and power, perform(ing) great wonders and signs among the people(Acts 6:8).” In Stephen’s speech, he reminds the Jewish of their turbulent history and how many times they have missed the signs of God as miracle after miracle has been performed for them throughout time. Stephen ends his speech with the verses above, propositioning the question in verse 52: “Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute?”
The Jewish people had waited over 400 years since their exile to Babylon for their promised Messiah. They had fallen under the world power of the age: the Roman Empire. Their Tanakh prophesied the coming of the “Righteous One” and when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, despite Him fulfilling every prophecy, the Jewish crucified Him, which enabled God to fulfill every promise He had ever made. Despite all this, the Jewish still did not accept Jesus as the Son of God. The people of Sanhedrin did not like the truth Stephen was presenting to them, so he was martyred in the name of Jesus. As he was being stoned, Stephen prayed to Jesus and found peace in the horrific act of being killed by a crazy crowd throwing rocks at him. This story ends the brief history of Stephen and introduces another important persona in the Christian Church: Saul. Saul, who witnesses and approves of Stephen’s killing, is a relentless head hunter of Christianity. He will be one of the most menacing characters against the Apostles, until Jesus gets involved and uses Saul’s obsession against Christianity to become the most fervor proponent of the truth of Jesus Christ. A plot twist that could only be worked out by the power and glory of God.
Reading plan: Acts 11
Deeper reading plan: Nehemiah 11, 12
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much. Pray for all the businesses trying to recover and keep their associates able to provide for their families. Pray that the world can reopen without a surge of new COVID outbreaks. And pray that the world has undergone a lasting change and the flame of revival has been lit!
Fitness challenge: Calisthenics day. I really enjoyed this circuit, especially the Pistol Squats, so we’ll do this for one more week, this time getting a full three round work-out. So do 14 reps of each exercise, for three full rounds. Google the exercises to learn the proper procedure.
- Hand-release Push-up
- Jumping squats
- Diamond push-ups
- Supine Bicycle (4-count)
- Pistol squats (7 each leg)
- Burpees (as many as you can, but 14 is the goal)