Scripture of the Day:
“While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Have you ever faced an extreme circumstance where you were facing death in the face? I have. My time in the military and a few instances as a police officer, I have faced the prospect of “this could be it.”
How do you react in those situations?
By FAITH. You see, faith WORKS every single time it is put to the test. Every single time.
If you believe you will fail, guess what – you will.
If you believe you will persevere – you will.
That does not mean you can say over and over, “I believe I win; I believe I win; I believe I win” and then, miraculously, the enemy just dies of a heart attack right before you very eyes. It could happen, but that does not mean that.
What I’m talking about is this…
In those situations I was describing, I had to rely on my training. I had been trained for those exact situations. I had received the best training available. And the exact situation I was facing at that time, in my mind, though it was real, the training I had received kicked in.
That is why the military trains so much! We used to say in the Cavalry, “We train today just as we will fight tomorrow.” We had another saying that “we train to be wet, cold, tired and miserable. And we are experts at it.” Amen!
But, when you are facing death in the face, you need to rely on your training. Then, something called, “muscle memory” kicks in.
I was trained in martial arts in my military days. That training served me as a police officer a few times.
I remember one instance, this person loved to fight cops. I did not know it at the time of the traffic stop. But our dispatch did as they were running the tags. I heard them call another unit to come to my location and they gave a code word that meant I had a dangerous subject stopped.
I did not react to the radio call to the other unit. They called me on the radio with the code word, I just reached up and said, “10-4” and continued talking in a normal tone to the driver. He had no clue that I knew what was about to happen.
As the other officer arrived, I asked the driver to step out of the car. He did so, and I informed him he was being placed under arrest (I’m not going into details as to why, that’s not important here). But, when I grabbed his arm to turn him around, because of my martial arts training, I felt him tense up and begin a move to break my grip…
Because of my training, and muscle memory, I immediately countered his move and he ended up in an arm bar on the ground. The other officer was only about four feet away and did not even have a chance to move in and assist! That is how fast my reactions were.
Now, I credit that to my training. I had trained hundreds of times, at least, for that exact situation. So, when it happened, I did not have to wonder what I was going to do. I did not have to ask for assistance. I did not panic. Muscle memory took over and I did what I had been trained to do.
What does that have to do with this scripture of Stephen or you facing a life or death situation?
The point I am making is, just as we have been talking about all week, you MUST KNOW the voice of the Holy Spirit concerning the situation you are in.
I’ve heard stories from Navy Seals, one in particular I’m thinking of, when he and his buddy were pinned down and it wasn’t looking good. His buddy started to panic and yelled over, “This is it…what are we going to do?” Scott looked over at him and said, “You’re a Christian, right?” The other guy said, “Yes!” Scott then replied and said, “So what you worried about? We do what we’re taught and we win either way!” Then Scott jumped up and began to fire and the other guy did the same and did what they were taught to do and won.”
Stephen, sensing, “This is it..” did what he was taught to do. He had heard how Jesus, as He died on the cross, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit,” simply repeated the same words – but put his total trust and confidence and FAITH in Jesus. Amen!
You need to be the same way. You may not be facing a matter of life or death. You may not be facing a physical threat. But if the devil is putting more on you than you anticipated and it may come to something like that – DO NOT LET FEAR TAKE OVER!
Amen! Your mantra should be THERE IS NO FEAR HERE. Amen!
Then, just trust in your training. Trust in what the Word of God says. Trust in Jesus to either deliver you physically – to deliver you spiritually. Either way – YOU WIN.
Until next time, this is Pastor Bob Thibodeau reminding you from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 in the Living Bible to “Always Keep on Praying!” Be blessed in all that you do!
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