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The Bible and Stephen’s Joy

Julie and Phillip were always a bit uneasy whenever their Daddy took them with him to talk about Jesus door to door in the city. Yet daddy definitely liked to do it so they went to find out how. Usually the Assistant Pastor from their church went along. Typically people were pleasant and sometimes invited them in and often the Pastor or Daddy would pray with the people to take Jesus which really was fascinating.

Once though someone answered the door who wasn’t from our country. His skin was darker and he wore one of those turban things on his head. And when daddy talked about Jesus, the man got really mad and began shouting and appeared like he was going to come out and hurt daddy therefore the Pastor excused them from the man and they went to a bench nearby in the apartment compound.

“What’s wrong with that guy Daddy? Why did he have that hat on his head?” Phillip asked terrified.

“That’s a guy God loves exactly like he loves me and you Phillip. Now let’s pray for him.” And they did right there on the bench and all of them felt better.

That evening Daddy revealed that the man came from a different religion so he just did not understand that they were there to give him everlasting life. “But Daddy,” Phillip cut off. “It seemed like he was going to hurt us. Does this mean what we were doing was wrong?”

“Children remember the story of Stephen in the Bible?” Daddy said and before they knew it, Daddy was sharing them the story. Daddy was an incredible storyteller because he can make Julie and Phillip feel like they were there in the story.

“Where are we Daddy?” Phillip shook his head exploring the big crowd of what appeared to be seriously angry people. Julie and Phillip felt their Daddy holding onto their hands while he took them straight into the bible story he was telling.Do you want to find out more? You may go to gifts of the Spirit and read all about it.

“We are in the story, Phillip. These people are all mad with Stephen. See there?”

The kids worked their way in between the legs of the shouting people and they saw him. Standing apart from the crowd, clothed all in white. “Phillip!” Julie whispered. “That’s Stephen, exactly like Daddy said.”

“Kids over here.” They heard their Daddy whisper and they ran to him knelt between some people watching.

“Why are they all so mad Daddy?” Asked Julie a bit frightened as well as worried for Stephen.

“They do not want him to speak about Jesus, sweetie.” Her Daddy answered.

“Daddy, he doesn’t even look frightened. I will be VERY scared if everybody was angry at me.” Phillip said seeing Stephen with wonder.

“Can you hear what he’s saying kids?” Daddy whispered and they listened close.

“He’s praising Jesus Daddy.” Julie eventually said. “He’s saying thanks to Jesus that he’s going to be able to suffer and die for God. Daddy I don’t understand.” She said sobbing a little bit.

“Well sweetie, Jesus died for us so it’s a privilege to endure those things for him. Stephen is filled with the Holy Ghost so he is not suffering by any means. See his face, it’s full of joy. That’s exactly what the Holy Spirit does once we go through difficult things for Jesus. He replenishes the fear and pain with joy and praise. Come on, we have to go back, Mommy should have dinner ready soon.”

As they moved to the back of the crowd, Julie saw a wrap that appeared as if it belonged to Stephen. She reached to pick it up but an older boy got it first. She looked him in the eyes.

“Why are you crying?” She asked the boy.

“I have always disliked Christians, little girl” the boy said. “However Stephen has a lot of joy. The joy of Stephen makes me in some way want that within my heart.”

Back home at the dinner table they told Mommy about their adventure. “Well, Julie, who was that boy you spoke with before you came home.”

“I don’t know Mommy. He said his name was Saul of Tarsus.” They didn’t talk about it any longer but Mommy and Daddy exchanged knowing smiles and both of them knew that Daddy would be taking the children on a different journey to find out more about how this Saul boy ended up.

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