Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 17, 2019
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:15
Lori’s angelic face reflects Jesus. The past several years, my wife Rita and I have enjoyed the company of Lori and her husband Kevin—100% of the time during our visits together Christ captures her countenance. Always. A soft sincere smile. A glance saying God is good—all the time. Eyes with a deep well of love and affection. Lori’s angelic face reflects her Savior Jesus Christ. Sadly, in the beginning of our rich relationship, cancer had begun its eroding work in her.
Cancer is scary for all of us, alarmingly so when visually exposed. Quietly at work behind the smooth, soft skin of Lori’s face the deterioration from this dreadful disease was unleashed. The battle had begun for her healthy body, but we soon learned her spirit would only surrender to her loving heavenly Father. Lori, a beautiful child of her King, experienced the depths of sorrow with the man of sorrows—Jesus. Christ’s comfort and the comfort of friends was love’s cure for her broken body and sustaining strength for her unbroken trust in God. Though the disease advanced, Lori’s fears retreated as she gazed into the face of perfect love: her Savior, her Lord Jesus Christ.
I just heard from our friend Debbie of Lori’s heavenly homecoming. My heart is heavy with sweet sorrow that stings my soul at the great loss of such an attractive lover of God and people. I’ll never forget worshipping together at a Celebration of Generosity and looking over at Lori’s disfigured face, only to see the beautiful face of Jesus. My tears flowed, as praise and worship flooded my soul with a deep sense of our Lord’s love, comfort and pleasure purely presented in an angelic face! A Christlike countenance communicates care and calm in the midst of a storm.
“Without weakening in his faith, he [Abraham] faced the fact that his body was as good as dead” (Romans 4:19).
Stephen, known as the first martyr of the Christian faith, was described by his persecutors as a man with a face like an angel. How could his critics see an angel in the one they were about to stone to death? Namely, he was different from his detractors—a man of faith and power. Persons fully emptied of themselves have room to accommodate belief, grace and the Spirit’s fullness. Such was Stephen, who the Spirit could trust with wisdom. Zealous, Hellenistic Jews thought they could destroy the Christian movement by stoning an angelic looking leader, only to realize the rock of Christ cannot be moved by man’s secular stones. His death only accelerated the Way.
What facial expression do others see in us? Joy, because of our gratitude to God? Peace, because of our hope in what heaven has in store, where sorrow is no more, where a tear in every heart is wiped away for good? Love, because we are loved by the Lord and we love for the Lord? Our face is the first indicator of Christ in us. Is there enough evidence in our countenance to convict us as a Jesus follower? Like Lori, we lean into the Lord in our pain, so we reflect Him on our face. Stones of sickness and shame attempt to destroy our hope, only to reveal heaven on earth!
“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God…While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:55-56, 59-60
Heavenly Father, I pray the love on your face will be reflected on my face, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Who needs encouragement from me with a loving look and kind word?
Isaiah 51:3; Jeremiah 5:3; Mark 10:21; Luke 19:5
Our face is the first indicator of Christ in us. Is there enough evidence in our countenance to convict us as a Jesus follower? #wisdomhunter #angelicface
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