My Youversion.com account • dennismpapp
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So, here's what hit me today...
Wow, what do I pick? So many things stand out. Little things that I might not notice if I were just skimming rather than reading slowly.
God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.
The way the Spirit arrived in Acts may seem strange. It is certainly not the way it happens today. The Spirit's arrival was very visible. This was vital for moments like the one we are reading about in this passage. Peter was able to say that God confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. For all their lives, they were told they were God's chosen people. They were special. There was some tough ice to melt here. Now God was choosing people outside the family. The visible sign of the Spirit's arrival on all people groups, not just the assembled Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2) was vital confirmation for them to see and believe.
The short list of forbidden items/actions that the apostles and elders send to the Gentile churches seems pretty random to us. It is in response to those who said that Gentile Christians need to be circimcized. The apostles said this is not necessary, but then when on to give what appears to us to be a random list. I'm glad abstain from sexual immorality was in there.
So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Last line sticks out to me. What are their credentials? "...who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Wow, we find ourselves hesitant to speak truth because someone might label us as intolerant or ignorant. Which is harder, risking your reputation or risking your life?
Sad that there are, were and will always be people who will try to use someone else's affliction to gain a profit.
When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.
Let me get this straight...Paul and Silas are dragged before the town, stripped, severly beaten with wooden rods, thrown in prison, experience the miracle at midnight, lose a night's sleep leading a family to Jesus and baptizing them, and now they are the ones encouraging others?
Looks like the concept of entitlement was not alive and well in the hearts of Paul and Silas! True servants of Jesus Christ and of others! They are also my heroes.