TRIUMPHANT VICTORIOUS REMINDERS
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
Stephen the man we know as one of the first martyrs for Christ Jesus said,
""Look I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!" Then they put their hands over their ears, and drowning out his voice with their shouts, they rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died."
~ Acts 7 (Excerpt from Acts 7:56-60) ~
Wincing in torturous pain; I saw man being tormented and tortured; hanging onto the last thread of life. His tormentors torture him to see if he will deny his Savior, Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, in my spirit, I saw this image of an Asian man as we were singing unto God and worshipping Him. The words we were singing went something like this, "I abandon my heart to You, surrendering to You". When I saw in the spirit the image of this man being tortured, I saw Him screaming with all His might and I could see the veins protruding through his forehead as he screamed the Mighty Name, "JEEEEEEEEEESUUUUUUUUSSSS"!
Personally, during our worship time I was having some of my own issues, wanting to truly sing that phrase with all of my heart, but knowing that God knew my heart. Warring about the petty things I fight against and yet seeing this image in the 'spirit' was all too real and truly an awakening. I remember at that point in worship, I said, "God, if I can't praise You and lift my hands to You as though it is some sacrifice, I am truly sorry, I will lift my hands to You. And if right now I can't do it for You, I will do it because You have reminded me through this man, who will not deny You even unto death."
It led me to the reminder of my humanity and truly realizing how much I needed to be dependent on my Awesome God. It opened my eyes to see that I am concerned with wanting to express my love for Him ALL the way because of the fear, "What will they think of me?"
Catching a glimpse of that Asian man suffering because he was most likely found being part of an underground church. It caused me to weep as their churches are dwindling in numbers not because of offenses, divisions or church splits. But their churches are dwindling in numbers by the many because they are dying in ways we can not imagine because they do not want to deny their Rescuer and their Savior,Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank you for the reminder today that when you are leading me to say or do something for You may I remember my brothers and sisters in Christ who have no relief of pain. They have no relief of torture. They have no relief of seeing their families killed and ripped apart because of their relationship with You. They know that Your love for them is so much greater than even this torture they are going through. Because of this, they cannot imagine denying you in their words or their actions, because they remind themselves daily of what You Jesus did for them as You died on the cross for us to bring us into fellowship with the Father God!.
Lord, send your relief to them. Lord, send Your power and peace over them in the midst of such pain and torment.
I pray that just as Stephen saw you high and lifted up as he was being stoned to death, may you cause your power to come over their mortal bodies so they do not have to endure any more pain. May you cause them to see You right now wherever they are in this very moment.
Lord, my heart is heavy not in condemnation but in conviction by the Holy Spirit to realize this life is not about me in any way. It is about You and what You want to do through me no matter my status in society, or who I am. You want to utilize me today for Your glory.
Let us be reminded that the Lord finds each of us significant; no matter how insignificant we may feel or look.
In the meantime, let us also pray for our brothers and sisters who long to go to church and come together with other believers, but know if they do, they just signed their own death certificate. Let us come together in Jesus name and let us do it for His glory in honor of them.