Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jesus came for every race, every nation (Acts 10:24-48, Matthew 15:21-28)

We are still having some crazy weather in New Jersey.  Thunderstorms are on the way.  Usually that's a good thing because then the humidity clears out and it cools down.  I've been working on pastel paintings.  They actually have pastels that are water soluble now. So you can make paintings that way.  So fun!  Plus it's non-toxic.  Very good, I won't pass out while working on that beautiful sunset : )

I don't know if people in other nations have these problems but now and then people get into fights because of race (the color of their skin).  It doesn't make much sense, skin doesn't define our hearts, or our courage.  As far as I know skin is the outer wrapper that holds our organs in the right place.  So what if God likes variety, and makes people different?   I'm an artist, I think it's cool!  When Jesus was walking with the disciples, people were like they are today.  We really don't change through the years, we just swap places when we go to Heaven.  Jesus had a lot to teach people while He walked on earth.  One of them was people are designed and crafted by God.

Here's how Jesus handled racism.
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon- possessed.”
23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
I think this was a set up so Jesus could teach the disciples some manners. : )  He has a great way of doing that!  Even today.
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
So He walks on and the woman persists.  
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
Jesus knows what we're about to say before we even think it.  No way to hide. I should note that women weren't allowed to do much in society at this time.  So Jesus healed a Gentile and a woman.  He has no boundaries.
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
(Matthew 15:21-28 NKJV)
So we left off last week where Peter and Cornelius met and became friends.

24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”
This is the new Peter.  He's no longer yelling at people for doing stupid things, he's polite. God changed me that way too when I became a Christian, so grateful!  I had terrible language and He made me nice and sweet (err most of the time).  < Not perfect at all!

30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you. ’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
An angel visited Cornelius wearing bright clothing.  That would be so amazing.  Until now Gentiles (people who weren't Jewish) were considered unclean.  Peter had a vision about food that wasn't blessed by a Priest.  I'm wondering if the day he spent with Jesus and the Gentile woman came to mind.  This is the future of Christianity, it's for all nations, all races, all languages.

34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said:  “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 

39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

This is one of the verses that helped me clear my guilty conscience:
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
(1 John 1:9-10 NKJV)
God is not distracted by race, in His eyes we're all beautiful.  He loves all of us.
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
There are many interpretations of the use of tongues in the Church.  It's when a Believer speaks in a tongue they don't know.  If I went to Russia and immediately spoke Russian, that would be a miracle of the Holy Spirit.  I don't know any languages : )   My personal belief is that God gave us the gift of tongues for when we need it.  Some consider it a holy personal language for prayer.  I'm not able to do that.  I'm too logical and want to speak direct with God.  It's one of the lesser spiritual gifts.  But it can sure be helpful in trying to communicate with people.  I do remember when I was a little girl a Spanish girl came to my neighborhood.  She seemed lonely so we made friends.  We spoke together just fine.  Later she told me I was the only one who understood her and would speak to her.  Hmmm that's interesting : )

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
(Acts 10:24-48 NKJV)
So Peter baptized the first Gentiles that day. 

Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You and praise You for allowing those of us who aren't Jewish into Your kingdom.  I am so grateful for Jews for Jesus and pray we will be able to share with each other and grow stronger.  I pray for wisdom in selecting our next president.  Bless the News Reporters to do their jobs well, so we can know the facts and have good leadership again in the USA.  I lift up the Supreme Court and pray Your Holy Spirit will guide them as they make decisions this week.  Remind them how important Moms and Dads are for little children.  Thank You for Israel and the shining light they are.  

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Hillsong, Touch the Sky (link)

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