I have been moved this week by my study in Come, Follow Me. The intro for this week said to “Read Acts 10-15 CAREFULLY” (caps added for emphasis). Previous weeks have said thinks like “As you read, write down insights...” This change intrigued me and I committed to slow and careful study, when I typically rush.
At first I thought it odd that we were asked to carefully study Acts, when other scriptures and authors seemed “more valuable” to me. However, as I dived in I found many things quite interesting and especially applicable to me and my prayers right now. I thought I would share my notes and would love to hear what you’re learning, too.
1. I love that major revelation expanded after Jesus left the earth and through the prophets. He could have said before he left, “By the way, this message is for everyone, go and preach it to all people in every corner of the earth.” But he didn’t. He revealed it later as a builder of faith.
2. God knew Cornelius, and Simon the tanner and Peter. He knows us by name. He knows where we live AND I hope that someday I can be worthy to be part of something big that God says, “Go see Michelle...” and that I will be ready. And I love every time that God says, “Go see ______ or call ______,” by name. I have been used before and pray I will be one of the certain people called upon again.
3. I also pray that I will have the faith of Cornelius to go part way without knowing why or what’s next. I like to see the beginning from the end, but Cornelius exercised great faith to go to a stranger and trust what was next. I struggle here and felt God whisper, “Trust me. Just do the NEXT thing.”
4. Peter doubted himself and second guessed revelation, even as prophet. God was patient and tutored him along- hope for me.
5. So much faith. People fasted often and prayed without ceasing. I love they were still praying when Peter knocked on their door as he broke out of Prison. (Also, God can break us out of our prisons...)
6. There are always Herods...
7. Paul and Barnabas are called on a mission to preach to Gentiles. Not well received they’re thrown out of one city, shook off the dust and headed to another city. I love that. They kept going when it would have been easy to say, “Heavenly Father, we tried, and they didn’t like us.” Not only that, but I’m floored by Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” Despite the persecution they still had joy and we’re blessed with the spirit. We CAN have faith and joy in hard things.
8. Then in the next city, they heard people were being stoned, went anyway and Paul is stoned to the point of losing consciousness. I cannot even imagine that. Being hit so many times or so strategically by rocks that you’re knocked out. At this point after being cast out and stoned I probably would have said to God, “Wait a second, you told us you wanted us to do this, couldn’t you make it easier?” Their missions were hard. Missions now are hard. Carrying out the cause of faith to disbelievers is hard and yet He still needs us to do it. Will I have the same faith to carry on? We have missions to do. Things to teach and share. It will not be easy but we cannot give up. We must keep going.
9. I do note the miracles and those who were converted and probably the hope that P & B had to go back to all the places they had been.
I’m so glad that I carefully read and while my insights are likely elementary, I have shed tears this week.
I love this gospel of Jesus Christ and “Come, Follow Me”.