FEBRUARY 15: THE FACE OF AN ANGEL

THE FACE OF AN ANGEL
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
... When they heard these things they were cut to the heart and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly into heaven; and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. They they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. And cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 6:15 & Acts 7:54-60
Today's Read: Acts 6-7; Psalm 56

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Stephen was endowed and empowered by the Spirit in supernatural and extraordinary ways:
He was known for his faith, power, and ability to perform miracles.
He was known for his wisdom, discernment, and unassailable ability to teach and preach.
With all these wondrous and high-powered gifts, one should think that Stephen would be designated and earmarked for the "highest of callings."
But Stephen chose to be a servant in humble quarters:
-He chose to look after widows in distress.
-He chose to minister to the needy.
-He chose to apply his feet to the Gospel and serve the downtrodden and those requiring rescue and refuge of some sort.
Stephen's focal point wasn't on himself or his gifts, it was on serving Christ.
Stephen desired to be used by God in services that most men would consider beneath them.
Wonderfully humble, powerfully able, beautifully constructed,
Stephen wore the emblem of Christ on his rolled-up shirt sleeve, and he threw himself into the labors set before him.
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That position, interestingly, landed him opportunities that extended beyond the tables and drew him into a circle of contentious "synagogue" men bent on destroying Stephen.
What a curious strange ordeal.
One should have thought the men would be nothing but accommodating and encouraging in the work which Stephen was involved in ... but it wasn't to be.
Mocking Stephen's conduct and testimony, they worked themselves into a lather in trying to destroy him and be rid of a testimony of Christ.
And where the Gospel should have taken deepest root, there grew the deepest discord and hatred for the "true Gospel" and its enactment through beautiful Stephen.
Stephen addresses them ...
"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye ..."
Acts 7:51 
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Hmmm ...
Undeterred. Unafraid. Unaltered.
Stephen kept to his task and proclaimed through conduct and tongue the glorious telling of the Gospel. He picked up the settings of the Patriarchs and marched through the Old Testament like an earnest soldier heading into battle.
Well equipped, well spoken, and well endowed with a supernatural Spirit at work, Stephen struck a chord for the Lord and kept on going. You can almost hear the tempo pick up and the verbal strides peak upon his presentation of Jospeh, Abraham, and Moses. It's just all so delightfully, emphatically rich with the heritage of the Saints and every soul that feeds on his testimony will be inspired and blessed.
Our lives are all about the empowerment of the Spirit working through them.
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From waiting on tables, to serving widows in distress, to ministering to the downtrodden, and preaching the hope of the glorious Gospel to the outcast, Stephen was taken "into the synagogue" and places "within."
Hmmm ....
And while the apostles were out tending to the Gospel Stephen was getting stoned from within;
And then he went to sleep with God.
It's really such a wonder, is it not?
We just never know where Christ might take us, how He might use us, and what He might do through us in the place we are at.
Keep your focus on Christ ...
And allow the face of an angel to emerge.
His time, His way, His reflection.
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Three Study Suggestions:
1) Read through today's scripture and reflect on something observed about God's character and Stephen's character.
2) Serve others in a whole-hearted manner and NEVER see yourself as "too big" for the task or assignment you've been given.
3) Live a life of truth, testify to the Gospel and to Christ, and leave the outcome to Him.