Looking to heaven
There for sinners you are pleading,
There you now our place prepare. John Bakewell
Read Acts 7:54—60
Where do I look when the world around me is enraged? It is, often enough. Where will I look when it is my turn to die? That will happen. To whom will my plea be when I am faced by the deadly foe? Will I, too, when I am feeling feeble and can sense my life ebbing away, will I then be filled with the Holy Spirit? And look to heaven? And see the glory of God, and Jesus at the right hand of God? Will I entrust my spirit to him? Will I, if I am robbed of my life, have it in me to not hold the responsibility against those who take it, not hold the sin against them? This would not come from large-heartedness on my part. It would come only from heaven. It is the God of heaven who has overcome the world.
Dear Father, I praise you this night for the witness of Stephen. I thank you that you filled him with your Spirit. I thank you that the Spirit applied the very death of Jesus to him so that he need not die his own death alone. And that the Spirit gave the forgiving word of Jesus to him, filled him with the hope and the victory of the resurrection, and showed him Jesus, interceding for him. I thank you for every faithful martyr who has known the presence of Jesus and has been faithful unto death. When my death comes, may I in my dying weakness witness to Christ in his living power.