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Acts 11:1-18 (NIV)
Peter Explains His Actions
11 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance, I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ 8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. 11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’ 15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
How can the principle of God bestowing his Spirit on non-Jews affect the way you treat unacceptable people you meet?
This passage really causes me to focus on how God wants us to look, everyone, through His eyes. It is amazing to think that even though the apostles spent so so much time with Jesus that they were surprised to realize that salvation was not only for the Jews. It gets easy to be around those of like mind and become comfortable, but we are commissioned to share the Good News with everyone.
Lord, help me to remember that you have created all life and that you gave your life for the redemption of all who seek you. I admit that is becoming more challenging in our world today. The world is full of noise, red hot emotions, conflicting information, and busyness that is constantly tearing at our hearts and minds. Many days I can see nothing of much good, through my eyes, and offer the sometimes empty platitudes of ” what can I do or say ” which often becomes a fruitless endeavor. I need to remember that your mercies are new every morning…. and that you have arranged all my steps before I was even born. Lord, please open the eyes of my heart to seek out those who are looking for you, sometimes they do not even know it. It is so easy to be around the nice people or the ones that seem more like me. Give me the courage to go out of my comfort zone and extend your love and compassion towards those who may seem unpleasant or not so easy to be with. These opportunities are out there every day, the office, the supermarket maybe even at church, make my heart tender. Let me share your love. Amen!
(today’s prayer submitted by Jo Schneider)