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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beautiful Words

I was taught something so beautiful today in my Sunday school class. I was told about the story of Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10. I will tell you a short version of this beautiful story...

Cornelius was in the Roman military (Italian Regiment) and "he was a devouted man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always." Acts 10:2. He was a Gentile.. someone who was not raised in the word and probably came to know Christ later in His life. Cornelius was given a vision a vison of an angel and then God's voice spoke and said, "Cornelius!" And Cornelius was afraid but he answered the Lord. The Lord told Cornelius to send some men to Joppa and find a Peter and ask him what he should do. So, Cornelius gathered his men and sent them on their way. As they were traveling and becaming closer to Joppa...

Peter was praying and went into a trance "and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down tot he earth. In it were all kinds of 4 footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." Acts 10:11-16. Back then Jews didn't want to eat anything unclean or do anything that would unpleasing to the Lord. After that trance he was in he sat and thought about what that dream might have meant and what he should do with it.

Then the men traveling for Cornelius to bring Peter back with them showed up at Peter's door. Peter then had the Holy Spirit speake to him saying "Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them." Acts 10:19,20. Peter went down and told the men who he was and Peter went with them.

Peter had to go on a whole lot of faith, because Jews didn't hang out or go with Gentiles. It just wasn't right. Jews didn't want to do anything unpleasing to the Lord.

While the men and Peter traveled Cornelius gathered together his relatives and close friends and they waited for Peter to arrive. Acts 10:25. As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. Then Peter said the most honest, most beautiful, and most true words... "Stand up; I myself as also a man." Acts 10:26. Such wise words... to me Peter was saying I am just like you. They had two beautiful things in common. The love of God.... the lover of their souls.

Then Peter preached to Cornelius and his family and spoke the gospel as true as could ever be...

"In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Isreal, preaching peace through Jesus Christ-- He is Lord of all-- that word you know, which was proclaimed all through Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptisim which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who sent about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on the tree. Him who God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after he arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." Acts 10:34-43

I think a lot of believers who are in limbo of their faith... are scared of what others may think of them because they are not that "perfect Christian"... have a hard time knowing how they will fit in and be received. We who know the word and live by it need to just take care of business and love whoever. I know sometimes it may be hard because we may not agree with what they do in their lives, but the best testimony to them could be YOU and how YOU accept them. I am learning everyday I need to just buck up and love on the people that are hard for me to love. Jesus loved everyone even when He knew they were going to turn on Him. He loved the prostitutes that were interfering in marriages. He still continued to reach out to them and show them the light. That is such a testimony to me and if we have Jesus in our heart I really don't think it should be hard for us to love the unlovable and spread that light that dwells inside of us.

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