How Does a Martyr Think?
The first Christian martyr - Stephen, hurled grace while his assailants hurled granite.
Cowered before the multitudes and defenceless to death; Stephen remained meek, yet weak he was not.
Mercilessly rock after rock crushed further his broken body. No refrain of vengeance, no venom of cursing or plea for relief crossed his torn lips.
This first Christian martyr simply spoke as well as His Lord had at death.
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 7:59-60
This man full of grace, power and the miraculous had preached literally to his death. Persecution was no impediment to his faithfulness. Ill will - no hindrance to his service.
Yet before he died God 'transported' him to heaven. As each stone rode his fractured frame - he knew that God knew! He saw God's intervention.
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 7:55-56)
When we have given our all the Lord will show us things no other can see.
Heaven is opened for the child and the devoted. It is seen by those who are bold and refuse to shrink. The martyr does not slay the truth but gives himself for it instead.
Even in death Stephen did not cast his eyes low in a woe is me. Heaven and not pain was the object of his attention for:
dependence upon God is won upon the knees, it is from suffering that the deeper things of life are seen and the higher things of heaven revealed.
Spiritual ambition trudges over pavers stencilled spiritual endurance.
Heaven's glory cannot be seen without self-conquering suffering.
A martyr's mind is the noble victor over self.
Today's Soul Snippet:
"In the Lord's economy it is the people who no-one imagines anything of that will do things that no-one imagines." ~ Michael Cartwright
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