Good evening, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
1st Reading Psalm 16(17)
"Psalm 17 (NKJV) - A Prayer of David. Hear." Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Oct, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nkjv/psa/17/1/s_495001>.
Psalm 16(17) starts as a prayer of protection, and David cries out, "HEAR A JUSTICE CAUSE," meaning hear my prayer, O LORD, (see v. 1). Looking and reflecting on (v. 3), we see that God tries the heart of David and finds nothing injustice in him, and in (v. 4), David is avoiding the ways of the wicked. And he is held fast in faith because he is in place on God's path. No matter our trials and afflictions, the LORD will always answer our prayers because it's the grace of being heard. After being listened to, David asks for the LORD's steadfast love and protection for all those who seek refuge in Him. David goes on to pray to the LORD to be preserved when he says, "KEEP ME AS THE APPLE OF THE EYE" (v. 8). In v. 12, David asks for projection from the bait of impure thoughts, he says, "THEY ARE LIKE A LION EAGER TO TEAR, AS YOUNG LION LURKING IN AMBUSH." David cries out in v. 13 to be delivered by the LORD's sword. The sword is referring to God's Word and not a literal sword. In v. 14, we are reminded to store heavenly treasures, not earthly ones, and the prayer ends that to be fully satisfied with the LORD, we must strive to be like God, the process of deification.
Acts 7:54-60 "Stephen's Death and Forgiveness"
"Acts 7 (NKJV) - When they heard these things." Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Oct, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nkjv/act/7/54-60/s_1025054>.
Psalm 16(17) reminded me of the stoning of Stephen found here in ACTS 7. Stephen faced extreme evil during his stoning, but he had the face of an angel ( v. 15, Acts 6) even though they accused him of extreme blasphemy. When he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven the glory of God, saying, Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God (v. 56, Acts 7)! But during the moment of his being stoned to death, Stephen cried out calling out to God, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and then cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin ( vv. 59-60, Acts 7)." Stephen, in imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ, forgives his accusers, his killers ( Luke 23:34, "Luke 23 (NKJV) - Then Jesus said, Father, forgive." Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Oct, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nkjv/luk/23/34/s_996034>. ). Stephen ended his life just like Psalm 16(17), ended being satisfied and made complete in Christ. His forgiveness made him like Christ; victory is received in sacrifice; Stephen gave his life in the name of Jesus Christ.
In Christ, love Jared W. Campbell
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord[a]lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’
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