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August 24, 2017

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STEPHEN...MAN OF WISDOM AND POWER

"And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke." Acts 6:10

Few men have the enduring qualities and the dynamic character that embraced Stephen. He had been chosen to take the role of a "servant"...caring for the poor and widows, administering to their needs. How many of us would respond to such an obscure lowly task as this, if we were so endowed with the gracious and outstanding gifts that Stephen had. I think his servanthood attitude was what clothed all of the gifts Stephen had. He was willing, even as Paul..."to be all things to all people, that he might win some." It was one of his strengths.

Stephen was "FULL OF WISDOM" (Acts 6:3, 10). This is a unique gift which must be exercised with discretion and sensitive judgment. Many have abundant knowledge and understanding, but do not know how to translate that into wisdom. For a man to have wisdom, is to have the ability to know how to apply knowledge wisely, to be able to discern and relate to the things he confronts from day to day, giving wise consideration, and coming to a definitive conclusion. Wisdom gives man the ability of insight into the areas of confusion and frustration and the ability to differentiate between what is "simply good" from what is "best."

Solomon said, "Blessed is the man that finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for [wisdom] is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold" (Proverbs 3:13-14). Stephen acted wisely before crude, powerful, unethical, malicious men. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed about by the wind" (James 1:5-6).

Stephen was "FULL OF POWER" (Acts 6:8). God will never call us to a task without giving to us the power to accomplish it through Him. God had a specific ministry for Stephen that was both effective and fruitful. God endued him with divine "power to work wonders and do miracles among the people." He had a unique ministry among the people that quietly invaded their lives and greatly influenced their faith.

This demonstration of power established his validity and authority as a "man of God." There were in that day, even as today, those who demonstrated miraculous power, but not from God. Satan has miraculous power, and works through those who are persuaded and submissive to his demonic power.

Stephen's power was initiated and manifested by God, through him for HIS glory, and for the salvation and healing of the people. He recognized the source of his strength and leaned upon the Holy Spirit to work through him as he ministered among the people.

How wonderful it would be if our lives were "clothed with wisdom and power" in a measure like Stephen's. The same Holy Spirit that embraced Stephen and endued him with wisdom and power is the ONE WHO is working in us today! May the Holy Spirit so "possess us" and minister through us.

We often seek the "gifts" instead of the GIVER, the "blessing" instead of the BLESSED ONE, and the "anointing" instead of the ANOINTED ONE. May we learn to "lean upon HIM," the source of all our strength, wisdom, and power.

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.


This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-08-24


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