Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 7:11 a.m. – I was praying through several things last night when the Lord put the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” in my mind. He brought that song back to mind this morning as I sat down to have my quiet time alone with him. My husband said something to me in the kitchen that may have prompted this, but an old secular song titled “Don’t Stop” or “Yesterday’s Gone” was going through my mind, as well. And, then after I looked through the passage of scripture, intending to revisit it in a little while more thoroughly, the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “O Love that Wilt Not Let me Go.” Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Acts 6-7 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%206&version=NIV; http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%207&version=NIV Don’t Stop / Fleetwood Mac / Written by Christine McVie Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here, It’ll be better than before, Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone. Full of God’s Grace Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934 George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway. Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me! When we step out in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, or even just when we live as humans on this earth, there are no guarantees that life on this earth will not have rough spots, mountains to climb and valleys to cross, times of great persecution for our faith in Jesus Christ, or times of great trial and tribulation, or that we will live to a ripe old age. They opposed Jesus Christ, and they will oppose us, too, if we stand for the same things he did, and if we do and say the same things he did and said. Satan wants to stop the spread of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and he will pull out all the stops to try to prevent “this thing” from spreading any further. People in countries other than the U.S.A. have known this kind of persecution for generations, but I believe it is coming soon to America, too. Yet, we should not try to hold on to the past, but we should keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ, and we should look forward to our future home in heaven with our Lord. We should also hold on to the hope that many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ before his return, so even if we are persecuted for our faith, I believe it is for the spreading of the gospel so that many more will come to know Jesus, too. So, we commit our lives and our ways into the hands of our Lord, and we trust him with our lives and our future. We trust him to fill us with his peace and his grace, to heal our hurts, and to use whatever we are going through to mature us and to make us more and more like Jesus. And, we yield to our Lord’s sovereign will over our lives, believing he knows what is best for us. Stiff-Necked People Stephen was given the opportunity to speak to these charges, so he used this opportunity to share with his listeners some Biblical history of God’s people, leading up to Jesus Christ as their promised Messiah and Savior. He told of Abraham being called of God to go the land God would show him (the Promised Land), of Joseph being sent ahead of God’s people to Egypt to prepare the way for their salvation during a time of great famine, of the people of Israel eventually coming under slavery to the new king in Egypt, to whom Joseph meant nothing; of Moses being sent to deliver God’s people out of slavery in Egypt, of Moses’ prophecy concerning the coming Messiah, of the people’s refusal to obey Moses, God’s servant; of the idolatry of God’s chosen people, of the time of King David and of Solomon building the temple of God, yet how God does not live in houses made by human hands. Remember, Stephen was a man full of God’s grace and power, who had the face of an angel, and yet he spoke strong words against those who refused to believe in the Son of God as their Lord, Messiah and King. Not only did they refuse to believe, though, they went to great lengths to oppose the true gospel and those who preached it, even to the point of persecuting and killing God’s chosen servants, just like they did with Jesus. And, this still goes on today in many different ways in varied places throughout the world. We don’t have to literally kill a person in order to “kill” him or her. We can do this through rejection, persecution, strong opposition, disdain of them, and refusal to listen to God’s true servants and witnesses, resisting the Holy Spirit in the process. We should test all things, but we have to be so careful that we are not guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit when we close our ears to what the Lord may want to say to us through a brother or sister in Christ. Although Stephen was severely persecuted, and quite assuredly they planned to kill him, still he maintained his composure, and he stayed focused on his Lord and his future in heaven with God. He knew yesterday was gone, but he also knew his tomorrow would be so much better! He trusted his life and his future into the hands of his Lord as clay in the Potter’s hands. He forgave his persecutors, and he went to meet his Lord. Awesome! O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go / George Matheson / Albert L. Peace O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean depths its flow May richer, fuller be. O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee; My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day May brighter, fairer be. O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be. O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.