Scripture Union Daily Guide 15th August 2020 – Comfort In Times of Distress
TODAY’S TOPIC: COMFORT IN TIMES OF DISTRESS
OPENING PRAYER: Grant me depth of insight, revelation and knowledge as I meditate on this passage, O Lord.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 7:54–8:3
• Is there any promise for me to believe or hope for?
• Is there any warning for me to heed?
Today’s Outline: Scripture Union Daily Guide 15th August 2020
Compare the council’s reaction to Stephen’s message (vv.54,57) to that of John the Baptist’s audience (Luke 3:10). Whenever a sermon convicts us, the best response is to accept the message, repent, and make amends. Persecuting the messenger does not change the message.
Stephen faced severe pain, yet how did he portray Christlikeness towards his persecutors (v.59,60; Luke 23:34)? 1 Peter 2:23 provides additional tools to help us keep our cool when provoked. The council misunderstood Stephen, describing his vision as blasphemy (vv.56,57).
Blinded by fury and claiming to enforce the law (Leviticus 24:14), they broke the law by failing to properly put Stephen to trial. We need to be wary of condemning what we do not understand. Stephen’s vision assured him of Christ’s endorsement of his testimony, comforting him in his time of distress.
May we find comfort and assurance in our moments of agony! Saul (later Paul) is mentioned three times in this passage (vv.58 and 8:1,3). His confession in 1 Timothy 1:15,16 teaches us something about our outreach efforts–there is no one beyond the reach of God. Stephen’s death fuelled the persecution and dispersion of the early Christians, which led to the spread of the gospel. The hardships we face can help advance the cause of the gospel.
⁂ Any new insight or reinforcement of what you already know?
• And so: It is helpful to all Christians who must live through difficult times to trust that God is directing all things according to His purpose.
• Pray for Christians who are persecuted throughout the world, and for the gospel to penetrate the hearts of their persecutors.
• Pray to God for wisdom to do your work with diligence and integrity.
• Offer a prayer of faith in line with Hebrews 4:12
Read the Bible in one Year
Psalms 94–96; Gal. 1
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