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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

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Acts 7:51—8:1
Psalm 31
John 6:30-35

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cloak and dagger

"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always opposing the Holy Spirit just as your fathers did before you." —Acts 7:51

Stephen stated that some people always oppose the Holy Spirit. Peter accused Ananias and Sapphira of lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). Jesus spoke of the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:31).

These expressions are rarely used today. We'd like to think that we do not resist the Spirit much because we don't violently attack people. However, we can be opposing the Spirit in subtle ways. For instance, the Bible says that "Saul, for his part, concurred in the act of killing" (Acts 8:1). Saul was an accomplice in murdering Stephen, the first martyr, but we have no record of Saul touching, hitting, or even speaking to Stephen. We have no record of Saul even helping in any way those who stoned Stephen to death. The only thing the Bible says about Saul is that he stood there while people piled their cloaks at his feet (Acts 7:58). Saul participated in murdering Stephen not by violent activity, but by apathetic passivity. We likewise can oppose the Spirit not only by what we do, but also by what we don't do.

Prayer:  Father, get me out of the "cloak room" and into the "upper room" (see Acts 1:13).

Promise:  "I Myself am the Bread of Life. No one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst." —Jn 6:35

Praise:  A young adult group accepted the challenge to pray monthly in front of an abortion clinic.

Reference:  (Read the Bible daily. For encouragement, order any or all of these audio and video tapes: Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ, AV 82-1, V-82, How to Pray the Bible on audio AV 82-3 or on video V-82, How to Read the Bible on audio AV 46-3 or on video V-46, Principles of Bible Interpretation, audio AV 79-1, video V-79.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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