After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God..."
Thoughts for Today:As Peter takes the stage he reminds those present of his experience with Cornelius (a Gentile centurion in the Italian regiment), who with his entire household had been saved and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:1-48). Peter makes several key points:
* God spoke to him (Peter) in a dream specifically about the Gentiles;
* God, who sees the heart, showed He accepted the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit;
* God makes no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles;
* God purified their hearts by faith.
He goes on to pose the question, "If God did all of these things to show His will and intention, why do you test Him?"
Do you see yourself doing that sometimes? God hands you a particular set of circumstances that should change your previous view of the way things work, and instead of going with God's new direction, you stubbornly do it the old way?
I once read about a psychologist who, at the stroke of midnight each New Year's Eve would remove his clothes and jump into his pool, emerging at 12 am with the New Year, fresh and renewed no longer trapped or burdened with the past. What ideas have you held onto that God wants to change? What are you still burdened with from the past? For the Jews it was clearly their traditions and Laws that God wanted changed. He wanted them to embrace a fresh and new perspective. It was not God's desire to abandon the law but to see a return to faith and Christian living. Where is God calling for growth in your understanding of Him?
Questions to Ponder:God is always teaching us to re-think or re-consider our perspective on a particular subject. What is He asking you to re-consider right now? Is it how you treat a particular group of people based on their age, ethnic makeup, or where they live? How does God want you to be different? Will you begin the change now? Identify one area God wants you to rethink your perspective. Spend some time this week in God's Word discovering His principles on that subject. Choose to take several practical steps in your life to change your perspective on that subject.