20091226

Acts 7

v60

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Now if we want amazing stories of intrigue, and betrayal, and action, and people changing sides of a conflict, we don't have to look much further than the book of Acts. And, unlike movies like Star Wars, the book of Acts is all true stories.

I was thinking about how Saul had been there when Stephen got killed, and how later, as Paul, he described himself:

1 Timothy 1:13
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.

If Stephen hadn't prayed, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, would Saul ever have converted, and would we have Paul today?

Paul's name is on 14 books of the New Testament, as writer, or at least as co-author with another person. (I went through and counted them once.) So the Lord used Paul to write down an amazing amount of God's Word in the New Testament. Some people even think that Paul probably wrote more books of the New Testament, as well, that he didn't put his name in.

Sometimes we get in unfair situations that may be just a little bit like when Stephen was killed. Maybe we're standing up for the Lord and for what's right, and we're telling the truth, saying things that need to be said, even if people don't want to hear it. When Stephen did that, the people became very angry at him, and yelled, and shut their ears, and all went after him together.

Now the people we know don't often kill us for doing what's right-- but sometimes our situations can seem to be a little bit like Stephen's, in a way. How did Stephen respond? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. We should respond the same way, loving, forgiving, and returning good. Who knows when, out of a situation like that, the Lord might raise up another great thing like Paul?

Colossians 3:13
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
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