May 1 – Acts 9:32-10:8
Happy May Day!
Remember back to Acts 1:8 when Jesus told the apostles right before he took off to heaven: “’But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” The persecution in Acts 8 caused the believers to scatter but not to keep quiet about Jesus. This allowed the circle of impact to increase from Jerusalem into Judea as Jesus foretold. In today’s reading, Peter takes the good news on the road. We also meet a Roman centurion named Cornelius who is the link to taking the good news to the ends of the earth. What are your ever-widening circles of impact? How do you interact with each one? How do you point to Jesus in each one?
READ: Acts 9:32-10:8
Acts 10:2 – He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Acts 10:5 – Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
Acts 10:8 – He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
These verses are about a Roman centurion named Cornelius. Though he was a Roman with an upbringing likely in mythology, he had a good relationship with God, evidenced in verse 10:2 and his encounter with an Angel of the Lord in verses 10:3-6. At this time, Cornelius did not know Jesus and therefore was not a believer. But his faith in God was such that he obeyed without questioning, despite it seeming like this was a small thing or seemingly meaningless. And God blessed his obedience, which we’ll read about next week.
Spending too much time and effort seeking God’s will can lead me into anxiety and a place where I sometimes don’t hear his whispered guidance. I almost have to purposely turn off my brain and “go with the flow”, the flow of the Holy Spirit leading me that is, not the flow of my sin nature. I’ve been in the middle of this for the past couple of weeks, waking up in the middle of the night dwelling on things that happened and trying to consciously turn off those thoughts so I can go back to sleep. Funny, in the middle of writing this, a Proverbs 31 Ministry devotion addressed the same exact thing. Thank You for that, God! Amy Carroll says in the devotion from April 29: “As God’s children, we have a heavenly Father who is worthy of trust. All of our obsessive worry over our responsibilities and concerns doesn’t change a thing, so let’s resolve to try something different. Let’s give up our illusion of control and rest peacefully like children in Jesus’ unfailing care.” For the whole devotion, see http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/how-to-sleep-worry-free/
It is about control. Do I trust God to be in control of my life? If so, I can sleep peacefully.
Stay tuned in God’s Word for what God was able to do with Cornelius’ seemingly small act of obedience. See you here next week!
Bottom line is God wants me to obey Him, despite second-guessing and obstacles or thoughts that surely this isn’t big enough for God to care. God is trustworthy. In each act of obedience, I can trust that He is taking care of me. No need to dwell on the details; God’s got it all in His hands.
God, help me to fully relinquish control to You, in every detail, and fill me with Your peace that surpasses all understanding.