FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Lord, I am open to correction.
Read ACTS 10:9–23a
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
Peter at Cornelius’s House
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.
- Acts 10:19 One early manuscript two; other manuscripts do not have the number.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank God for the freedom you have to worship, pray and learn from Him. Remember those for whom this is difficult due to external pressures.
Is yours a disciplined devotional time? Do you rise early, take a mid-morning break, or wait for evening peace? Peter, like Cornelius, appears to have his regular timetable, but this time he’s sidetracked… by a rumbling tummy! The hunger pangs enter his musing mind and a vision occurs. A living menu is presented to him with the command to kill and eat. Peter’s impulsive response is conventionally Jewish: ‘I couldn’t possibly touch it. It’s unclean’ (14, free translation).
I was brought up within conventional evangelical circles, taught that certain music, drinks, events, politics – even fashions – were not for me. Yet their obvious, often apparently innocent, attractions created a dilemma for me because I found many of them stimulating. It is only after decades of experience (the Jesus movement, a drama degree, charismatic renewal, ministry among a wide range of believing and non-believing people) that God has shown me the breadth of his work within all areas of society. Peter needs to be told three times by God that it is His business what is acceptable to Him and, by implication, acceptable to Peter. In fact, this is a reminder of a lesson Jesus had taught him years ago (Mark 7:1–8).
He needs time to think. In my experience, God often turns my theoretical musings into practice by introducing me to a person who is affected by what I’m considering. For Peter, there’s a knock on the door, and he meets Cornelius’ representatives. The Spirit endorses the connection between the vision and the reality of the visitors but gives no explanation. Peter invites them in, for discussion and clarification, but he’s obviously only part-way through his transformative experience. What is going on?
Which locations in your town or local community would you be unlikely to visit? Why? Make a prayer-driven visit there for a walk, a drink, a listen.
Lord, truly You are in charge of what is acceptable to You and what is not. Give us added insight into these matters.
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