Episode #95. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 6 together: The first deacons are appointed and Stephen is accused of blasphemy.
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Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #95. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 6 together: The first deacons are appointed and Stephen is accused of blasphemy.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
My Testimony – Part 2
As you probably picked up on yesterday, the Lord impressed on me that I should share my testimony with you. I had to think about that a little, because, well, if I’m honest…there’s a Part 1 and a Part 2. We’ve done several short-term missionary trips to Tanzania and have spent quite a bit of time learning to tell our own personal stories. We’ve learned it needs to be honest, but somewhat concise when evangelizing. That’s Part 1, which I shared with you yesterday. But I have a heart for those who struggle with their actual walk; putting feet to what we say we believe.
I spent a great deal of my adult life stumbling. And that’s Part 2. You see, I was all over the Savior part of Jesus. It’s the Lord part that took me too long to embrace. I could tell you I was rebellious, or stubborn, or hated change…and it was probably a little of all of those things. But I think mostly, it was that insecurity. I valued the approval of humans more than I did God’s. I spent half of my adult life, well, let’s just say looking for love in all the wrong places. The other half was spent straddling an invisible fence, double-minded in all my ways, going to church, teaching kids, and then marking off my personal time from God as if I could separate that accountability.
Not too long after we moved to the little community where we live now, two things happened. One day, I was at work and I starting ranting about something in a way that quite frankly would make a sailor blush. One of our remote workers came in the office and said something that made me know she was a believer. I wanted to melt into the floor. Immediately, I thought about how I would not have been saying that stuff if I knew my pastor was coming in. The other circumstance happened at church. My friend’s daughter was leaving for the Peace Corp. Apparently, I was supposed to be in the nursery so she could have that last day with her daughter. Instead of dropping everything to cover for her, which would have been the loving thing to do, I defended myself for not knowing.
Something clicked in me. I can’t say exactly what, but those two events showed me clearly that I had to fish or cut bait. And with God’s help, I did. Then Mitch started coming to church again as a result of his own seeking. And we have never looked back. God has blessed us beyond what we could ever imagine. I will praise Him till I die for who He is, and how His love has changed my heart.
Acts Chapter 6
1In those days, as the disciples were increasing in number, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. 3Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5This proposal pleased the whole company.
So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a convert from Antioch. 6They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. 8Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9Opposition arose, however, from some members of the Freedmen’s Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, and they began to argue with Stephen. 10But they were unable to stand up against his wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking.
11Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; so they came, seized him, and took him to the Sanhedrin. 13They also presented false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking against this holy place and the law. 14For we heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 15And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
God has gifted each of us, and we will talk more about that in later books. The apostles were not only gifted at preaching and teaching but uniquely qualified because they had learned at Jesus’ feet. Through the conflict of the widows, men gifted with serving and hospitality were identified, and another aspect of the church was formed. It’s important that we know how God has gifted us and that we know what those spiritual gifts are. You must realize that when you are missing from the Body, things go undone.
We must develop the ability to see thru God’s eyes…see those who need encouragement or a helping hand. We must learn to pray for God to show us the divine appointments He has for us on any given day and then boldly step forward as His servants. Let’s do that right now.
Father, there are so many times we want to duck out of church because we don’t think we need it that day. But we don’t often realize that You may have a job for us to do that day to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please forgive us for being so self-serving. Help us to see thru Your eyes; give us Your ears to hear and Your heart to love others. Like Stephen. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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