Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! Acts 7:56
The non-profit organization Open Doors published their findings about the persecuted Church from the past year. In the top fifty oppressive countries, 245 million Christians experienced high levels of persecution, and 4,136 believers were slain for their faith—an average of eleven people per day. More than 1,200 Christian buildings were attacked, and 2,625 Christians were detained without trial.1
In the book of Acts, Stephen became the first believer to be murdered for his stand for Christ; and as he died, he gazed into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the throne of God. Since Jesus is typically described as sitting on the throne, it makes us wonder if He stands every time the soul of a martyr ascends to glory. If so, it would appear He has stood up eleven times in the past 24 hours.
God gives the grace we need whenever we’re pressured because of our faith—whether we’re living for Him or dying for Him. Christians are God’s ambassadors in a hostile world. Take courage, be faithful, and stand for Jesus!
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. G. K. Chesterton
Stephen’s Victorious Death (Acts 7:54-8:1)