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I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve thought about death a lot.  As a child and as a teen and certainly as an adult, I have thought about the life to come often.  People die every day so it shouldn’t be strange to think about our passing but for some reason people think it is morbid. Others don’t want to think about death at all.  I guess they think if they ignore it death will just go away.  Certainly, it’s not healthy to be preoccupied with death because death is not a lasting condition.  We are eternal beings so death is merely a word that describes our passage from this existence to the next.  We’re going to be alive forever so we better keep that in mind.  The best way to die well is to live well.  I have been thinking about Stephen’s “death” for over a month now as our ongoing study of Acts 7 continues.  Stephen’s vision, his prayers and his peace seem wonderful to me beyond words.  People were killing him with rocks and he was praying for their salvation!  What kind of a person does that?!  Answer; a person who has become like Jesus.  Stephen had spent his short life concentrated upon and walking in the ways of Christ and when the time came for him to die, he faced his death as Christ faced His.  Saul/Paul stood by Stephen’s death, very likely as the supervisor.  When he wrote Philippians 3:10, I wonder if he had Stephen’s death in mind, “being conformed to His death.”  In other words, he noted that Stephen died as Christ died…with dignity and grace.  They lived well and died well.  I suspect that the vision of Stephen’s gracious life under the brutal conditions of his death never left Paul’s mind.  My particular role in the Body of Christ affords me opportunities to be with people in their closing days.  I’ve observed those who die well and those who…don’t.  I’d like to die well but Stephen’s life—as others before and after him—remind me to live well and trust God for the rest.   “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” smiley