Have Faith

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Romans 12:2

So that you may discern the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, renew your mind through Christ by abiding in His Presence.  Sometimes we all have pain and sorrow, fear and negativity, anxious moments, and hopeless thoughts– Jesus rescues you from these.  In His living Presence He resets your mind to a faith view.

Jesus is the best thing to ever happen to you.  Rely on His compassion with your faith.  Your assurance that Christ is powerfully moving to align your mind in God’s best gives you spiritual maturity. Trust Christ.  Expect Him to transform your mind– it is His anointing, again and again, of the Holy Spirit.  Discern Jesus’ holiness.

Together

People who gathered around Jesus were ready to get on with right  living.  Roman government was violently overbearing and Yahweh had seemed far off and silent.  Yet with Jesus, the living presence of God personalized, near Him those yearning people found their hearts cleansed and their minds cleared.  In Jesus’ Presence, while listening to His teachings and seeing the miracles, life was right and good again.  Let us enjoy His living Presence in our midst, together, too.

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True Repentance

When they had heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.” Acts 11:18

Previously introduced to Peter in a vision of a sheet being let down with formerly unclean animals, God has moved Peter into the sure understanding that Jesus opens the Way to the Heavenly Father for anyone who believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Peter, who has seen Jesus heal folks without discrimination, who met the woman at Jacob’s well and she evangelized her hometown for Jesus’ sake, and who has seen many instances of outsiders give their hearts to Jesus is convinced of His open Way.

Now the Jewish believers are silenced, deep in thought as they wrap their hearts and minds around this monumental action of God.

And they respond in the most earthshaking way. They don’t say, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles salvation.” Don’t say He has given, “… saving Grace.” Nor do they say, “… New Birth.” And they do not say God has given, “… Holy Spirit’s transformation.” They say God has given, “… the repentance that leads to life.” An awesome expression rarely used today. Eloquent. True repentance moves one out of spiritual death into the believer’s life which leads to ever lasting life. True repentance that leads to life!

And I Began To Speak

And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as It had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He had said, ‘John Baptized with water, but you will be Baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” Acts 11:15-17

The apostles and the believers in Judea heard that the Gentiles accepted Christ, so when Simon Peter goes to Jerusalem they ask him, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” They do not ask this question angrily. They simply want to know how a good Jewish Christian can eat Gentile food and be in community with Gentiles.

Peter answers mildly as to how this came about, with six believers (men or women) accompanying him to Cornelius’ home after an Angel told Cornelius to send for Simon called Peter who ‘will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be Saved.’ v. 14 Saved with full Christian salvation in this world and in the world to come.

Peter’s emphasis is on ‘when we believed’ in v. 17, for it is not whether they are circumcised but it is that they believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit falls into believer’s hearts. Just as this our Communion Table is open, as are our hearts, to any age person who believes. Who are we to hinder God? For only God gives the repentance that leads to Life in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Holy Spirit Falls

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the Word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for Baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” Acts 10:44-47

When the Peace of the Holy Spirit falls on these Gentiles they begin to speak in tongues just like it happened in Acts 2:4-11. The Peace of the Holy Spirit falls as Peter is preaching the Word of Christ Risen. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for what Christ has done for us on the Cross.

Scriptural reference to the believers of the circumcision refer to the believing Jews. And Peter indicates that combined with the falling and filling of the Peace of the Holy Spirit there is cleansing Baptism, so he orders the Gentiles to Water Baptism. Note with me that either the Holy Spirit falls before Baptism or falls during Baptism — as Christ deems.

Just as in a wedding where Pastor asks if anyone has any reason why these two shall not be married, so Peter asks if anyone opposes the Gentiles being Baptized. The are Baptized. It is another glorious day for Christ’s Church. This is how Jesus orchestrates Jesus’ Way as He is open to each when your heart has faith in Him. Spirit falls readily. Alleluia.

We Are Witnesses

We are witnesses to all that He did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree; but God raised Him on the third day and allowed Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. Acts 10:39-41

With Christ-like compassion, Peter preaches to Cornelius, his family, and his trusted friends. Verses 36 through 43 of Acts chapter 10 is a summary of the Gospel of Good News. It begins with baptism of John and ends with the statement that Christ is judge. Peter is right when he says, “I am the one you are looking for…” v.21, in that he signifies the doorway to Christ is open to all comers.

My friend, notice Peter’s unafraid boldness. See Christ’s Light shining through him to preach. And notice with me that each time Peter speaks to both unbelievers and believers his focus in on Christ’s Resurrection. This is not through Peter’s power but it is of the Holy Spirit’s Power to give him the right words, the unfailing focus, and within him the tint of humility of servanthood.

Just as Peter, you say the Spirit led words and Christ does the rest within the heart(s) of those within hearing. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of God who is Christ our Lord. Your words are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and all glory to God, then Christ will use them to bring others into His Peace. For the passion of Christ is mighty.

Stand Up, I Am Only A Mortal

The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him. The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” Acts 10:23-26

Some believers accompany Peter from Joppa to Caesarea where a large gathering awaits him. These believers have been readied by prayer and the Word, and on this journey they befriend the messengers of Cornelius and continue prayers privately and together. The Holy Spirit is working in the lives of the travelers and at Cornelius’ gathering.

The Spirit has orchestrated this blessed gathering where Peter will speak. Since an angel came to God-fearing Cornelius, when Cornelius meets Peter he falls down to worship Peter. Peter knows the Lord’s words. In Matthew 4:10 Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6 and 13, “Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”

Peter says to Cornelius, “Stand up, I am only a mortal.” John Wesley cautions, ‘Have all his pretended successors attend to this.’

You and I are not to worship people nor worship angels (Rev. 19:10). Servants of Christ are representatives of our Heavenly Father and we direct those in the fold of believers in Christ to stand up, lift up their hearts to Christ, and to see Christ in others. Together on bender knees we worship Truth in Christ our Light of the World. The Holy Spirit works it so.

Go Without Hesitation

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Look, three men are searching for you. Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation; for I have sent them.”” So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” Acts 10:19-21

The vision Peter is still thinking about happened a bit before this. In Joppa, he falls into a trance while waiting to eat lunch and our Lord gives him a vision of ritually unclean animals, birds, and insects on a sheet let down from heaven. The Lord tells him, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” Peter hesitates to believe with his heart what our Lord is saying.

The men sent by Cornelius then come to take Peter back with them to Caesarea. Though Peter is only gradually willing to receive the vision’s message he also does not go with them without hesitation. He goes the next morning. Note that the vision and Cornelius’ men coming to get him are linked. He will know this when he goes with them.

How slow are we to anticipate what the Holy Spirit is putting together for us? The Lord gives us His Light for the present moment and we are to trust Him for what is next and yield our hearts not to our own understanding. Many times the Light our Lord gives is only by degrees because Peter, like ourselves, hesitates in the Holy Spirit.

Call No Person Common

In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called. He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God. One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” Acts 10:1-3

Devout man of God but not of the Jewish faith, Cornelius (in Caesarea) meets a vision of an angel of God who tells him to send messengers to Joppa asking Peter to come. Joppa is where Tabitha has been raised from the dead. At noon the next day Peter is praying on a Joppa rooftop where he falls into a trance and sees ritually impure animals, reptiles, and birds lowered to him in something like a large sheet.

Three times a Voice tells Peter to take and eat. Peter has never eaten these and at first refuses but then realizes it is the Lord when spoken three times. He sees the will of God on this important point. Nothing but what is pure can come down from heaven and this makes an important impression on Peter.

When Cornelius’ men appear and request that he go to Joppa with them he accepts. During this, Cornelius does not engage in business but stays with this intention that Peter is to come. Now, Peter speaks sparingly to the men. He does not reveal the whole vision that the Lord has revealed to him. Peter states, “… God has shown me to call no person common or unclean.” Nor we. Christ is available to all.

Let Us Arise

Peter put all of them outside and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Acts 9:40-42

When Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, died they called for Peter to come. Probably none of them had the gift of miracles. Swiftly Peter arrives and puts everyone out of the room where Tabitha’s dead body lies as he wrestles in prayer with God. At the Holy Spirit’s good pleasure, when Spirit indicates the fullness of Christ’s loving healing moment is here, Peter says “get up” or “arise.”

Can we imagine the surprise and astonishment of Tabitha when she returns to her life here? Pulled back from the glory of praise around the Holy Throne of Heaven she returns to the joyful rejoicing of her dear widow sisters who need her. Undoubtedly Tabitha’s service unto our Lord and Savior is even more zealously served.

Like Tabitha, I met Jesus and His instruction to me was to preach. In High School the car had had a tire completely blow off the rim and flipped over three times, injuring us. That time I met with Christ was unmistakably glorious and His Words engraved within my soul. I’m hoping and praying my Biblical witness through preaching says to you to arise and get up into Him.

Jesus Heals You

Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Acts 9:32-35

The end of miracles came with Esther in the Old Testament, and started up with magnificence in Jesus as He is born of a virgin and forgives sins, heals, casts out demons, and gives New Birth to His believers by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ is a miracle man and uses Peter to stir up great faith in Aeneas and open his heart to receive Jesus’ miracle. Like Peter, Christ uses you as you speak His words of healing, “Get up…”. Throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) learn from the words that Jesus uses to heal and use His words to speak the Holy Spirit’s healing in Christ’s Name.

The Holy Spirit will give you opportunities, words that are right, and will magnify His power within you so that healing events occur. All Glory be to God our Heavenly Father that this is true! God has made a Way in Jesus Christ for suffering to be relieved, for faith to expand exponentially, and for the Holy Spirit’s love to be manifest in you.

Peace Here

Meanwhile the Church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Acts 9:31

Peace in the community of believers is an awesome blessing! Believers who may be fearful, complaining, harsh, and use words that tear down instead of build up disrupt peace. The Holy Spirit actively works within this atmosphere of down-talkers to persuade and realign hearts. We are Spirit’s prospect for peace.

Surely Acts 9 peace in community came about because their bitterest persecutor has been converted. Then came the realization that faith comes by hearing. So the words you and I use daily may be Spirit blessed to bring Spirit unity in community also.

Speak to encourage, uplift, guide gently sourced out of loving affection for the Christ in someone else, and speak words that will continue the transformation Christ gives to others to bring them to Him. Words can help to lock hearts with Christ alive.

Upon meeting, bless others with your silent prayers for them as Spirit knows how to take your simple prayers and enliven them for our Heavenly Father’s ears. Ask in Jesus’ Name and He will give it to you. Asking for peace of the Holy Spirit to come into your community then believe with your heart peace comes.

Jesus says: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27