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But Stephen, overtaken with great faith,  was full of the Holy Spirit. He fixed his gaze into the heavenly realm and saw the glory and splendor of God—and Jesus, who stood up at the right hand of God.

“Look!” Stephen said. “I can see the heavens opening and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God to welcome me home!” 

His accusers covered their ears with their hands and screamed at the top of their lungs to drown out his voice. Then they pounced on him and threw him outside the city walls to stone him. His accusers, one by one, placed their outer garments at the feet of a young man named Saul of Tarsus. 

As they hurled stone after stone at him, Stephen prayed, “Our Lord Jesus, accept my spirit into your presence.” He crumpled to his knees and shouted in a loud voice, “Our Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.”  And then he died. Acts 7:55-60 TPT

Stephen was what we call a martyr, one of the first to die due to his steadfast faith in Jesus. He had just finished cataloging the scriptures from Gods covenant with Abraham all the way through Solomon and the prophets that followed. The religious leaders of the day were so angry, they took him outside the city and stoned him to death.

I believe the words that Stephen spoke that day, remained forever in the minds of those who heard them. They couldn’t escape the echos in their dreams no more than they could escape the sound of the thud of stones as they struck his flesh. That would never go away. Never. No matter how much they tried to justify their actions, the words he spoke was forever hanging in space, dropping like rain upon their heads.

How silly of us to be angry when people make fun of our stance for Christ. How vain to think that it’s all about us when in actuality, it’s Jesus they’re laughing at and hating. Remember when we were children and our response to mean words was, “I’m rubber, you’re glue, bounces off me and sticks to you!” I hear Jesus saying, “Let it stick to me! I will gladly take it on so that they can know my love through you.”

Someday we will all stand before God and answer to Him for what we’ve done or not done with the assignment He’s given to us. Even as I type these words, I’m weighing my own measure, wondering if the investment I’ve made has added value to others or simply fallen to the ground, buried in a safe grave so I can give back only what’s been given.

I’m not responsible for anything but giving a part of my gift to whoever God prompts me to give it to. I cannot keep hidden what He compels me to give. If you were thirsty and I had water to give, I would give it to you out of simple kindness. Why would I not offer you hope? Why would I not offer you encouragement? Why would I not speak up and bear witness of what I know? How could I experience this gift of salvation and not offer it to others regardless of the cost to my own flesh. He took upon Himself every sin, past, present and future so that I could walk in freedom.

Everything I’ve experienced in my entire life, good or bad was not sent by God. There is a real evil in the world and it’s plan is to destroy me, to keep me quiet, hopeless and stuck in my past. But if I allow those experiences to fine tune me, God will take what Satan meant for evil and will use it for His good, to draw all men and women, boy and girl to Him.

I will not stop! I will continue to spur you on, my remnant friend. Until we both receive our welcome home from our Father. What a glorious day that will be.

Sandy G

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