Let them gossip about me and harass me and tell falsehoods about me. I will not deny you, Lord God of the universe. Let them cheat me, beat me, threaten me. I will not deny you, Lord God of all that exists. Let them imprison me and execute me. I will not deny you. How can I? You are my heart, you are my soul, you are my being. Oh, for the privilege of dying for you. Let my death have meaning. Do not give me a peaceful moment in which to die.
Father, what I just told you. Help me keep my promise. May the promise I just gave you be what will happen, not just a wish. I know, I know. I am certainly not going to die for you sitting here in the comfort of my home. What I just said is easy to say. You know my heart. Strengthen my heart. Somehow.
Thank you, Lord God, for the beauties of your nature. Sparkling sunlight on the late winter snow, crocuses budding to hint of soon-coming spring, branches fluttering in the breeze, birds flying here and there deciding where to build a nest for their families. Clouds bumping playfully into each other, sounds and color. All that you delight in. Thank you for the free gifts of nature all around me. Free gifts just for my delight.
STEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR. In Antioch, Stephen’s best friend is crucified for defacing its patron goddess, and the city turns on Jews. He flees to Cyrene. There he meets Simon. Persecution against Jews is worse here. He decides the only solution is to pass himself off as a Gentile and start a secret synagogue with secret worship. When discovered, Stephen suffers at the hands of both pagan Gentiles and Jews. When Stephen visits Jerusalem for Passover, he sees Simon carrying the cross of Jesus. They both become Christians and the persecution starts all over again. Here he becomes a deacon to help Greek widows and is given the power to perform miracles by the apostles. Saul goes after both Stephen and Simon of Cyrene. They rush to save each other’s lives. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://bit.ly/2XBFXvJ