Jesus, I empty myself this morning, so you can fill me afresh with your Spirit..
I read Acts 7 last night before bed and again this morning. I usually include a section of a chapter that I focused my reflection on. However, my reflection this morning flows from all of Chapter 7 and Stephen’s amazing response to his accusers. Acts 7 is a remarkable chapter. Stephen’s standing up to and response to the High Priest and his counsel is amazing. It is full of confidence and power. This is because the story he is telling them is God’s story of the redemption of mankind. His confidence is real because he really knows God, really knows the Scriptures, really knows God’s story, really knows his place and participation in God’s story, and his whole reply to them centers and focuses on the story of God in the lives of the Jews. To be able to reply with the confidence, power, and authority of Stephen, you have to have spent much time in prayer getting to know God and much time reading, searching and taking to heart the Scriptures. I asked myself, How deeply do I know God in prayer? How thoroughly do I know God’s story in the Bible? Could I reply with the confidence if asked like Stephen?
After I read Acts 7 last night, as I laid in bed I was strongly led into time of personal repentance and reflection over my life that continued when I woke up early this morning. My sermon yesterday morning was on our upcoming discipleship training and are call to truly imitate Jesus. During our prayer time I asked for us all to openly confess and repent of our sins to allow God to begin a revival in our church. These things only deepened my reflection. I reflected over how well I know God and his story. The areas in my life that still are not conformed to God and his story. The thoughts in my headed and desires in my heart that are not of God. I said I was sorry for my failures as a husband and Father. Places where pride still exist. I said I was sorry for my areas of disobedience and unfaithfulness to God. Where my passion and ministry was directed by me and not God. Where I backed away from or sold-out of visions and responsibilities because of the cost. Where I neglected or placed on hold needed time in spiritual disciplines of prayer, searching Scriptures and fasting. Times spent doing things for God without first being with God.
I reflected over my life and ministry listening to v.51 "You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did!" I repented from the things "made in my hands”: idols, degrees, resumes, house comforts, buildings, and career. I repented from things I use to box in God. "Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands,"v.46-48. I repented for any lack of authenticity in my leadership. Any lack of confidence or authority from God. I prayed to be more like Stephen. I would like to be more like Stephen. And I know what it takes to be like Stephen. Stephen’s faith and confidence was forged in many hours outside the public eye, praying and reading God’s Word.
My family, I pray you reflect today on what you are forging in your mind, heart, and soul outside the public eye. I pray you honestly ask yourself as I did, How deeply do I know God in prayer? How thoroughly do I know God’s story in the Bible? Could I reply with the confidence if asked like Stephen? I pray for an awakening in your life. In Jesus’ name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends.
Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog in the comment box below.
Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
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