February 8 Leviticus 7-9; Acts 15

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Clarity | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ God who knows people’s hearts, confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving the the Holy Spirit just as he gave him to us. Acts 15:8 (NLT)

O~ There was a disagreement as to whether the new Gentile believers should be circumcised or not. They looked at the facts- what God had already done: how he (God) had given the Gentiles the Holy Spirit, showing that he accepted them as well and it was through faith. It seemed that when they looked for God’s hand in the situation there was clarity.

A~ I had a situation that happened yesterday that left me feeling hurt and confused. I withdrew and kept it inside for hours. However as I opened up about it and looked for what you were doing already, I felt comforted and my thoughts became clearer.

P~ Heavenly Father, thank you for walking with me and helping clarify confusing thoughts.  I feel better. Thank you.

Don’t Make It Difficult | Kelley DeAses

S~ It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.  Acts 15:19 (NIV)

O~ Reading in this passage the discussion among some of the early church leaders, who were just beginning to embrace the notion that God wanted His gospel shared with Gentiles and not just Jews, brought me back to a summer when I was in college.  I had started spending a lot of time this particular summer with a co-worker and an “old flame” from high school, both of whom were farther along in their faith walk than I was.  They took me to Christian concerts and young adult groups, and our late-night conversations at Village Inn would center on theological and Biblical topics.  One night, I heard my friends talking about how listening to Christian radio helped to immerse them in worship.  When I inquired which radio station they would suggest, my friend turned to me and said, “Don’t worry about it.  You are not there yet.”  Whether it was right or wrong not to encourage me to listen to Christian music, I think his heart behind that statement was not to overwhelm me with “have to’s” and let me grow in my faith at my own pace.  (Interestingly, it was a decade later, after I was married and then divorced, I discovered Christian music as an alternative to all the pop and country songs which had only relationship themes, which my broken and tender heart just could not bear.)

A~  I think the take-away for me at this stage in life, where I have a passion to share with people how they can be reading the Bible and journaling as I do, is not to expect every person I talk to to receive that message and get with the program right away.  My job is only to seek after God for myself, share what He has laid on my heart to share, and that’s all.  I don’t need to place undue burdens on people who may not be as far along on their spiritual journey.

P~  Father, Help me to remember the principle set forth in this verse:  I should never do anything that would make it more difficult for someone to turn to God.


S~ So I think we should not bother the other people who are turning to God. Acts 15:19 (NCV)

O~ This is what my Bible notes say, “Many Jewish Christians insisted that Gentile Christians had to follow Jewish traditions in order to become true Christians.  The Jerusalem Council decided that only God’s grace and individual faith in Jesus were necessary for salvation.” (The Devotional Bible: Experiencing the Heart of Jesus; New Century Version; Max Lucado; Thomas Nelson Inc.)

In fact, Peter had some good points about God’s view on this subject, and how well they, themselves, were able to follow their own laws.

“They heard to Good News from me, and they believed God, who knows the thoughts of everyone, accepted them.  He showed those people are no different from us.  When they believed, he made their hearts pure.” Acts 15: 8-9 (NCV)

“So now why are you testing God by putting a heavy load around the necks of non-Jewish believers?  It is a load that neither we nor our ancestors were able to carry. ” Acts 15:10 (NCV)

“But we believe that we and they too will be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 15:11 (NCV)

A~ I love James’ response to what Peter had to say.  His response was Acts 15:19.  It is simple.  If people are turning to God, then leave them alone, because that is what truly matters.  He knows their true thoughts and heart, and because of that, He will not make up the laws that they are to follow, but will guide them in having the boundaries they need.

In God’s eyes, people are people.  No one is better than the other.  Yet, because He knows us individually, He knows the different boundaries we each need as individuals.  For example, working out is not an issue for my husband.  He does it well, and he does it consistently.  However, his eating habits can be bad, if he does not go to God for guidance in forming the appropriate boundaries when it comes to a healthy diet.  I, on the other hand, am the opposite.  Eating healthy, minus my ice-cream habit, is pretty easy for me.  God has worked with me in regards to setting healthy, balanced ice cream boundaries, and also in regards to setting time aside to prepare healthy snacks and meals.  If they are available, I will eat them.  Yet, I got into a habit of filling my schedule so full, that I would grab whatever was available.  Working out, is not my “thing”.  Yet, that doesn’t mean God is saying I shouldn’t do it.  He has given me boundaries on when to do it and how to do it, in a way that doesn’t seem so rigid, draining, or impossible; but provides me with what my body needs and the ability to do it consistently.

And NONE of this has to do with my salvation or anybody else’s.  Boundaries, not necessarily laws, help us live the life God meant for us to live; one that glorifies Him.  At times, I often have to remind myself that the “laws” I try and create in my own life, have nothing to do with God’s love for me or His willingness to allow me entrance into heaven.  Plus, usually, like the “laws” other people (not boundaries given to me buy God) have tried to get me to follow, my own rules and regulations, do not result in peace and success.  I usually end up feeling like a failure.  I get frustrated, confused, and almost manic in trying to make something happen.

As I see the successful results of going to God and allowing Him to work with me, through our daily relationship, on the boundaries I need in my life; versus the laws I and other humans try to get me to follow, I wish I could convince more and more people how important this personal, daily, moment by moment relationship with Jesus is.  I see them struggling with addictions, finances, diets,…you name it.  They are not only trying to do it their way, but they are also trying to do it in their power.

P~ Thank you God for ice cream, and more importantly, for showing boundaries that help me live a more successful, balanced life.  As I talk to different people about the importance of a one-on-one relationship with Jesus, or  about my own relationship with Him, and my “going to Him” for guidance, YOU know “the looks” I get sometimes….the looks that scream judgment, foolishness, or just plain confusion….many times by other Christians,….I pray that you will show them what they need to see to open their hearts and minds.

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Posted on February 8, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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