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Monday, January 20, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:37, “They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented.”

There is a story in 2 Chronicles 24 that tells how King Joash gave the command to stone Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, a high priest from whom the king had received kindness. However after his death the king listened to other counsel and abandoned God to serve idols. When the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah and he proclaimed. “Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you,” they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. But his words remained behind as testimony.

In Acts 7 when Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, bore witness against his accusers unrepentant hearts, he too was stoned to death. Those who stoned him laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul, who agreed with the persecution of believers. And Stephen’s words remained behind as testimony to those present and to us today.

Most of us have experienced the reality of the schoolyard chant that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And we know that in fact words can hurt deeper and longer. Words penetrate to our hearts. Too many times as wounds. Yet they can also bring truth into the open—into light—for redemption.

These two men witnessed unto death the Lord’s words. How reluctant I have been so many times to speak out because of the possibility of ridicule and sharp-edged words.

But God gave them the words to speak, and the Spirit gave them the strength to endure the consequences, and their witness brought about new faith as the words took root.

Lord, please give us courage to speak Your truth in our lives, through our actions, and with our speech.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 118:22-23

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.”

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