The term, “irony” is defined as the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning i.e. the intended meaning and the actual meaning are opposite of one another. The irony of persecution is the fact that persecution in itself desires to destroy but often the opposite occurs, it brings growth.
When persecution comes to the church, the church grows. When persecution enters our life, if we stay close to Christ, then we will grow spiritually as we mature in our relationship with the Lord. So, stay strong.Beloved, Satan’s attempt to stamp out the Church’s fire merely scattered the embers and started new fires around the world. In the early Church Father Tertullian’s words, “the blood of the martyr has become the seed of the church.
Indeed, Stephen’s death was not a failure! His death led to many more people coming to know Christ. The principle to this found in John 12:24- “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Beloved, don’t allow persecution to defeat you but allow it to inspire you to grow!
Beloved, Stephen was about to face the firing squad of stones, which ultimately led to his death. He did not live a very long life, but he led a full life.
But why did Stephen have to die? Beloved, unless the Lord returns, we will all face death as Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
But why did Stephen have to die so young? Beloved, God does not promise us a long life, but He promises us a full life, an abundant life. Medicine may add years to your life, but it can never add life to your years. God adds life to your years and gives you a full abundant life as John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Beloved, we only have one life to live so we must live it in order to make it count. As you look back on your life can you say that you have lived a life that counts? If not, there is still time to make an impact in this world for Jesus Christ. There is still time to live a life that counts!
Beloved, as the Israelites suffered under the oppressive hand of Pharaoh they looked to the Lord for help. The Lord heard their cry as it says in Acts 7:34- “I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.”
I realize that you may desire an answer to your current situation and thus you may ask, “Why, Lord?” Beloved, Dave Branon wrote: When we face unexpected grief and ask “Who?” we get this answer: “The Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). When we face a period of weakness, we discover that “the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer” (Psalm 18:2). When the ungodliness of this world seems overwhelming, we can know that the “God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20). When “Why, God?” is on your heart, ask instead, “Who are You, God?” Then seek Him in His Word.”
Beloved, God is always faithful to keep His word!
Beloved, we had a great youth retreat. I would like to say “Thank You” to all of those who helped with the retreat either financially, prayerfully and in service to the Lord. Many went out of their way to provide transportation and even a great feast of ribs and chicken. I also want to thank all of the servants who persevered through the heat and “camping” of the HE Butt Foundation Free Camp. You went above and beyond in serving our youth and the youth of other sister churches in our area. We had 107 total campers- the most ever! Beloved, we had a great youth retreat. I would like to say “Thank You” to all of those who helped with the retreat either financially, prayerfully and in service to the Lord. Many went out of their way to provide transportation and even a great feast of ribs and chicken. I also want to thank all of the servants who persevered through the heat and “camping” of the HE Butt Foundation Free Camp. You went above and beyond in serving our youth and the youth of other sister churches in our area. We had 107 total campers- the most ever!
I am certain that the youth were blessed and changed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His Word through the Book of Ephesians and the ministry of The Whosoevers Ambassadors Austin Carlile and Christian Boudreau. It was a packed weekend and we give all the glory to God! Please continue to pray for our youth and their continued passion for the Lord!