Daily Devotional by Rev. Dr. Kandace Brooks
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Morning by Morning Daily Devotional Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Acts 10:44-11:10

44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
11 Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
Acts 10:44-11:10
It is fascinating to me that the circumcised believers in Jerusalem (the ‘insiders’) could not celebrate the conversion of the Gentiles – rather, all that they saw was that they were different.  Peter is criticized for going to the Gentiles and providing them the GOOD NEWS of the gospel!  We marvel at this inconsistency and yet, I will tell you that it happens still today.  We are astounded that our church leaders would associate with those who are ‘outside’ the church – and yet, these are the very people to whom we are called!  We want our church leaders to spend time with those who were already part of the flock; ‘Take care of the people inside’ we cry….because we are on the inside!  I wonder what those on the outside are crying to the church?
I realize this may be a very, very difficult and maybe even controversial topic – how much of our efforts, energies, ministries, relationships should be focused outward and how much inward?  There clearly needs to be an emphasis on both – but where is the tipping point? 
All praise to God in heaven above, 
who gives his Son to us in love;
let us with angel choirs rejoice
and greet his birth with happy voice

We have 25 folks signed up to go to Marianna this weekend for hurricane debris removal.  THANK YOU SAINT PAUL'S for your heart for those still hurting from the storm.  You are amazing!!

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