Posted on Leave a comment

Stiff-necked and Resistant People

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was the passenger in an auto accident that resulted in my neck and back being broke. I still have days of my back and neck hurting. A couple of years ago I discovered I had two herniated discs in my neck for which I have had a series of shots for. But this is not what the Bible is talking about when it refers to a person being stiff-necked.

Stephen’s address to stiff-necked people

At the end of Acts 6, we find that Stephen is accused of blasphemy even though the wonders and signs he did pointed to the work of God. In Acts 7, we find Stephen’s address to the high priest in which he emphasizes Israel’s stiff-necked disobedience throughout the Old Testament. He told of how God had been at work from the beginning of time and made Israel His chosen people with the calling of Abraham. Then, he then went through the time they spent in Egypt, Moses delivering them through the miracles of God, and the years of Israel’s rebellion against God. He sums up his sermon by saying, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”

Stephen made four observations about his audience: they were stiff-necked, had uncircumcised hearts, uncircumcised ears, and they always resist the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to be stiff-necked?

stiff necked

To say they were stiff-necked was saying they were stubborn, hard-headed, and unyielding to God’s commandments and His way of living. Israel’s history proved this to be true. They were so stubborn and unyielding that finally God said, “Enough!” and the nation of Israel was conquered and the people were carried off to spend then next 70 years in captivity.

Today, we are stiff-necked people when we are stubborn, hard-hearted, and unyielding when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. We refuse to obey his promptings and choose to live the way we want without any regards to what God says in His Word.

Being necked is to have uncircumcised heart

An uncircumcised heart is one that is closed and impervious to God’s attempts to affect it.  In Deuteronomy 30:6, it says, “The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul that you will live.” Circumcision of the heart, then, goes clear down to a person’s soul, the very essence of who he or she is and is expressed through his or her attitudes and relationship with God. An uncircumcised heart does not love God with all its soul and does not have a relationship with God. For many in Israel (and in our world today), they had a head-knowledge of who they thought God was but they never had the heart-experience of who God is.

For many in Israel (and in our world today), they had a head-knowledge of who they thought God was but they never had the heart-experience of who God is. — click to tweet

Being stiff-necked is to have uncircumcised ears

To have uncircumcised ears means they heard what they wanted to in regards to God’s Word or that they had such a strong prejudice to how they interpreted it that it was impossible for them to ever change their way of thinking even when the truth was right in front of them with the signs and wonders that Stephen had been doing.

Being stiff-necked is to resist the Holy Spirit

Resisting the Holy Spirit was to ignore what the Spirit was saying. Throughout Israel’s history, God would send a prophet with a message and the prophet would be rejected. Now that Jesus had returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit has come to indwell the believer, when we ignore what the Spirit is saying to us, we are resisting and rejecting Him.

As Stephen spoke to the crowd, the Holy Spirit was speaking to them through Stephen. It was if the Holy Spirit had a personal message for them and they rejected it. We know they rejected the Holy Spirit because in verses 54-47 we find the people were so furious that they gnashed their teeth at Stephen, covered their ears, and yelled at the top of their voice. They rushed at Stephen, dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death. Any time we reject what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, we are resisting Him and the work He is trying to do in our lives. It is as if we stand guard at the door to our heart and refuse to surrender our will to God.

Any time we reject what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, we are resisting Him and the work He is trying to do in our lives. It is as if we stand guard at the door of our heart and refuse to surrender our will to God. — click to tweet

Would God say you are stiff-necked?

What about you? Would God say you are stiff-necked, stubborn and unyielding person? Are you closed and impervious to God’s attempts to change your heart? Do you hear what you want to hear from God’s Word and ignore the rest or twist it to mean what you want it to mean? Do you resist the Holy Spirit when He is trying teach you something or correct something in your life? Would the Holy Spirit say you resist Him when he prompts you to witness to someone? Its really all about control. Are you willing to surrender and give total control of your life to the God who created you and loves you?

Israel had a problem in that they could not learn from the mistakes of their ancestors. Stephen told them that just as their fathers had been stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart and ears, and resisted the Holy Spirit, they were doing so now too. But we can learn what they did not and yield ourselves to God and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

click here to listen to our daily devotions on Spotify and be sure to follow us.

Help support our ministry:

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated and will help us grow and expand our ministry. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

[Download not found]

Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

[Download not found]
Bible Reading Plan Download

Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

[Download not found]

Download our Free Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

[Download not found]

<<<SPOTLIGHTING>>> In the Spreadshop Store:

Godfidence

The psalmist reminds us that when our sins are forgiven, God removes them from us as far as the east is from the west.

Godfidence

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

Canvas art and posters are available in the Teespring store. Many of our Christian Tees are also available at Teespring.

New in the Teespring Store: All Things New

All Things New

We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store.

When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

To see the collection of Canvas and Poster Prints


Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
Click here for the Southern Gospel Playlist
Or Click here for the Hymns Playlist

You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

WestBow Press logo

Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


Here’s some of our recent posts.

904.239.8937
A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 

Follow us on:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is FB-logo.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is linked-in-logo-1.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is twitter-bird.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is instgram-logo.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pintrest-logo.png

Posted on Leave a comment

Can We Understand the Ways of God?

The Bible is our source for understanding the Ways of God

From the Bible we can learn many things about God. For example, God is love, He is merciful, faithful, and forgiving. He extends grace. He is our helper and provider. God is a fortress and stronghold. He is the source of wisdom and light for our path. And He is so much more. Yet there are also so many things that we could never understand about God.

If you find it difficult to understand the ways of God, so did Job

For Job, he truly did not understand how God could allow all the suffering that he was facing. Job knew that he was innocent. How do we reconcile our minds that God allows bad things to happen to good people? For many people, this question stands in the way of them having a relationship with Christ. For other people, they have abandoned their faith when they couldn’t find a way to understand.

The World we live in can make it difficult to understand the ways of God

The world we live in is filled with violence, disaster, disease, and pain and it affects all of us at one point or another. We may ask how God could allow the young woman who desires to be a mother to go childless or experience miscarriage after miscarriage. Or why does the pastor who is diligently serving God end up with cancer and dies? Or how does someone you once called friend betray you?

The simple truth is we live in a fallen world that is slowly decaying from sin. The world is spiritually and morally decaying, and not from any fault of God. When He created the world, it was perfect. But it began decaying at the moment of the first sin and as a result, all of creation groans under the consequences of our sin. (Romans 8:22)

When we can’t understand why God allows suffering, we can know: 1) nothing will ever separate us from His love, 2) we don’t have to understand to trust Him, 3) He holds us in the palm of His hand. — Julia M. Bruce, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

Three truths to hang on to when we can’t understand the ways of God

Regardless of what happens there are some truths that we can hang on to.

First, we can know that God loves us and nothing can separate from His love.

Romans 8:35-39 says, “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?….No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

He loves you in the middle of whatever suffering you may go through. He loves you even when you don’t love him. God loves you when you feel completely alone. He loves you with an everlasting love.

Second, we do not always have to understand in order to trust Him.

Isaiah 55:8 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” We will never be able to fully understand God and why He allows some things to happen.

2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. 

We can’t understand what God is doing, but we can have faith to claim His promises and when we reach heaven and see things the way God sees them, they will make more sense to us then. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.”

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on our own understanding.” When there are no answers, we simply have to trust Him.

Third, we can know that He hold us in the palm of His hand. 

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And in verse 13 it says, “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Isaiah 49:16 says that God has engraved us on the palm of his hands.

In John 10:29, Jesus said that no one can snatch us out of His Father’s hand.

God’s got us and He will never let us go.

We can be encouraged when we don’t understand the ways of God

Even when we can’t understand why God would allow something bad too happen, as a child of God, we can be encouraged. This world can take many things away from us — our health, happiness, prosperity, popularity, worldly possessions, and loved ones. But it can never take away the love of God and it can never remove us from the palm of God’s hand. He is with us through every moment of life and we can trust Him.

There is coming a day when we will stand in His presence, redeemed and glorified. In that moment the suffering and losses of this world will be a dim memory but until then we can say with the psalmist, “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

This world can take many things away from us, but it can never take away the love of God and it can never remove us from the palm of His hand. He is with us through every moment of life and we can trust Him. — click to tweet


click here to listen to our daily devotions on Spotify and be sure to follow us.
One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated and will help us grow and expand our ministry. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

[Download not found]

Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

[Download not found]
Bible Reading Plan Download

Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

[Download not found]

Download our Free Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

[Download not found]

<<<NEW>>> In the Spreadshop Store:

Psalm 103:12

The psalmist reminds us that when our sins are forgiven, God removes them from us as far as the east is from the west.

Prayer Warrior

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

Canvas art and posters are available in the Teespring store. Many of our Christian Tees are also available at Teespring.

To see the collection of Canvas and Poster Prints


Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
Click here for the Southern Gospel Playlist
Or Click here for the Hymns Playlist

You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

WestBow Press logo

Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


Here’s some of our recent posts.

904.239.8937
A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 

Follow us on:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is FB-logo.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is linked-in-logo-1.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is twitter-bird.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is instgram-logo.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pintrest-logo.png