Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mixed Signals

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.      Acts 10:34b-35  (NLT)
One look at our culture tells you that people are confused about a lot of things! 

If you really want confusion try understanding church committees.  A church cemetery committee was discussing at some length the price of lots. The chairman, wishing to bring the thoughts together, summed things up with one of those statements that need to be taken the way they are meant, not the way they are said:  We should have two prices—one for those local and another rate for those from out of town.  The people buried there from out of town never come back to help maintain the grounds.[1] 

(Well, I hope not!  But you understand what he meant even in the confusion.)

The apostle Peter had a confusing vision one day.  In the evening, while he was waiting for dinner to be ready, he went up to the flat roof of the house to catch the cool evening breeze of the open space.  While he waited he prayed.  In this prayer time Peter had a vision of a sheet being let down from heaven by its’ four corners.  In the sheet were all sorts of animals – but all of them forbidden to eat by Jewish law.  Peter heard a voice say, Get up, Peter; kill and eat

Now some folks might attribute that kind of experience to a simple Methodist desire for the sermon to be over and the pathway to the buffet table cleared.  Peter tried to refuse on the grounds that he never ate what the Lord had forbidden.  The voice told him he needed to rethink – because whatever God has cleansed should not be thought to be unclean. 

It took three tries, but God finally got through to Peter.  Whatever Peter actually thought about his vision he could not have had a clue as to what God was up to. 

The day before Peter’s vision, thirty miles to the north in Caesarea, a Roman military officer named Cornelius was also having a vision.  Cornelius saw an angel who told him to send for Peter. 

Cornelius obediently sent servants to bring the apostle to his home.  After a night’s travel the servants arrived just after Peter had his vision.  After the servants explained why they had come, and a prompting by the Spirit of God, Peter swallowed his Jewish nationalistic pride and went with the Gentile soldiers. 

When they arrived in Caesarea he swallowed even more pride and entered Cornelius’ house – something that was also forbidden, because, by Jewish law and custom a Jew was never supposed to enter a Gentile’s residence.

After a brief exchange of what’d-you-see, why’d-that-happen, what’s-next and who-said-what…God’s Spirit took over the meeting and Cornelius’ whole family and household servants got saved.  What a revelation for Peter; what a blessing for the house of Cornelius! 

What started out as a very confusing time in the life of a Gentile soldier and a Jewish apostle became a blessing to both of them and to the entire world.  What everyone would have missed without the obedience of both!

Sometimes, just stepping-out in obedience to the Spirit’s prompting, before we try to wrap our minds around the circumstances, we discover we could never have imagined the blessings God’s got going on for a follower of Jesus Christ.

For You, Today

God may have some pretty interesting paths for you to walk today. 
Why not decide in this moment to watch for, and be obedient to His leading?

[1] Pastor Glenn Swanson, Mallaig, Alberta, Canada. Christian Reader, “Lite Fare.”

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