Posts Tagged Acts 10: 34

Discrimination

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Boy, do we need to get a revelation of this! This is what I call tough love, which usually amounts to being told what we do not want to hear.

Most of us do not want to hear what we need to hear. We will even shy away from the people who are best able to guide us. It is hard to face ourselves at times. Better to hide from the truth than face those uncomfortable revelations. Well, this verse is one of those revelatory mirrors which reflects a face most of us would rather avoid. Discrimination within our ranks.

The early church leaders had a job on their hands reconciling the Jewish believers and the gentiles who were flocking to the message and person of Jesus. The Jews had lots of rules they wanted the new converts to adhere to. They definitely thought of themselves as superior to the gentiles. After all, they were the children of Abraham and those gentiles had probably never even heard of Abraham.

In this new covenant, this new dispensation, all kinds of people are treated as the beloved of God. Each person is recognized as an heir to the promises. See that this includes women. It also includes slaves and Greeks. Frankly, it includes everyone. God is not one to show partiality (Deuteronomy 10: 17, Acts 10: 34). It is easy to read this passage as told to someone else. We can sit quietly by and watch them be rebuffed. However, let’s apply this to our world. What does it mean to us today?

We are all one in Christ. That means that Episcopalians and Methodists are meant to be brothers. Lutherans and Baptists are all one in Christ. And even Catholics. Yep. It is time we got off of our high horse and begin to love one another. Whose theology is perfect? Yours? Then why are we all called to continue learning and growing? The key words here are “in Christ.” That is where we are supposed to be. It is not a goal to be attained to be a good Baptist or a good Catholic. The goal is to be “in Christ” and to help others to be in Christ too. We are supposed to lead people into a relationship with Jesus. This is not a private club, as the Jews found out. And while we are about it. God still loves the Jews. Don’t think He doesn’t. He wants them to hear and embrace the good news about Jesus, who himself was a Jew.

God does not see all of these labels that we use to categorize people. He sees hearts. He doesn’t care what you call yourself or what others call you. He is attracted to all those who love Him with an honest, sincere heart. And just in case you wondered, I don’t care either. If you love Jesus, you are alright by me. That is this ministry’s official position, that we do not love according to labels. Your denominational affiliation is between you and God. I just want you in a church that teaches you the Word and supports you. I hope you are in a church which understands today’s scripture and is doing all it can to eradicate denominational prejudice. And for that matter, that includes every other type of discrimination. All people are welcome in the house of God and in this ministry. Come all who are weary and heavy laden. Jesus wants to wrap himself around you and give you his rest. Enter into his rest. Enter into his love, regardless of your label. Check your label at the door and just be free in Christ. God loves you! Those are the important words.

Shipping is Free

2 Samuel 22: 31                NLT

“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
I want to look, this week, at how we walk in the blessings of God. If God has blessed us, if the Word is true then why don’t our lives look more blessed than they sometimes do? This question has plagued me personally and professionally for years but I believe I am beginning to have a revelation into the answer. I would like to use a couple of personal illustrations to demonstrate how we can live in the promises of God and even how a blessed person can miss them.
Last week I was fortunate to get to go bike riding several days. On Saturday I went for a fairly long ride over new territory. I was psyched to go to this new place and spent time Friday getting my water, food and clothes ready for a long day of cycling. I missed one preparation step though and I paid for it. I forgot to pray.
Now, how does a minister of the gospel forget to pray? I have my own theories on that but it is really bad. You see, God has made me many promises. In fact, every single promise that He ever made to anyone is mine if I choose because God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10: 34) which means that He does not show favoritism. What He has ever done for anyone else He will also do for me or for you. Therefore, every promise in the Bible is mine.
Now then, today’s verse, along with many others, tells us that God is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. His promise has been tested and proven true. How can it be, then, that I fell on my Saturday ride and scraped up my elbow? Where was my protection from God? Why did my bubble of protection not keep me unscathed? As I am sure you have discerned, the protection never settled on me because I never prayed. I never received that promise. Today’s verse says that, “God is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” Well duh, I never looked to Him for protection. I just jumped on my bike and took off in the power of my might. What an idiot! Don’t copy me. Cover yourself, clothe yourself every day in God’s protective power. 
 
God isn’t assumptive or controlling. He has given you and me authority and decision making power. He says, “Okay, here is a protective shield. Put it on if you choose.” We have autonomy. That autonomy has a price though. We have decision making power, and that is great, but it also means that His promises are not automatic. They are all activated by our choices. This is how a friend of mine explains it, “We wait for something to happen, or be handed to us, rather than working hard and reaching for things ourselves. It’s like lying on the sofa, asking for someone to bring us a drink. IT’S IN THE KITCHEN, GET UP AND GET IT!!!!! God’s blessing are there, within our power to have, we are just too lazy to get them.” I think this friend has a revelation. God has already stocked the refrigerator with all the drinks we could ever want or need. We have only to go open the door and take what we want.

All of God’s promises are yea and Amen (2 Corinthians 1: 20) which means that He has already said “Yes.” However, we have a role to play. We must appropriate these blessings for ourselves. The warehouse is stocked; it is full. Now just write out your requisition form and have what you need and want shipped to you. Shipping is free.

Spiritual Push-ups

Daniel 6: 10

… and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.

We understand that Daniel was possessed of an extraordinary spirit (Daniel 6: 3). We may even go so far as to speculate that his great advantage was the Holy Spirit even though the outpouring of the Spirit had not yet occurred. However, we know there is more to the story because not everyone was operating in the kind of success that Daniel was. Additionally, we recognize different levels of cooperation with the Spirit of God today even though we all have the same access to him. So, my question is, what made Daniel different and how can we learn from him so that we can experience the same level of success he did.

We know that God is not one to show partiality (Acts 10: 34). Whatever He has done for one person He will do for another. So why aren’t we all demonstrating and people saying of us that we are possessed of an extraordinary spirit? I believe at least part of the answer is found here in today’s verse. Daniel made a habit of praying to God three times a day. Can we be honest? How many of us can say that we pray at least once a day every day? Daniel regularly spent time with God and seeking God.

We are a triune being made in the image of God. We are spirit, soul and body. Well, we certainly take efforts to develop our bodies. We spend time developing our soul too which is our mind, will and emotions. It seems reasonable, then, that our spirits can be developed too. One of the ways Daniel developed his spirit was to spend time in prayer. This cannot be rote prayers though. We aren’t really seeking God when we just repeat prayers but time spent seeking God’s leading and just seeking His face does help us develop spiritually. How else might we develop our spirits? Certainly, reading the Bible thoughtfully is effective. Again, we don’t gain by just reading the Bible like it is homework that just has to be completed. We read it thoughtfully and prayerfully allowing the Holy Spirit to minister its meaning to us. You may read only a small passage and yet gain volumes from it. Certainly praise and worship minister to our spirits as well. 

However you commune with God the time spent with Him will help you to develop spiritually and as your spirit develops you will find it increasingly easy to hear Him and be led according to His guidance. Stay on this path and soon you will be a great overcomer just like Daniel.