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Posts Tagged ‘vision’

Verses 28, 34-35, 44-45: “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.”
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 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.”

“I love it when a plan comes together.” That was the favorite catch-phrase of one LTC John “Hannibal” Smith, the wily leader of The A-Team. I enjoyed watching that old television program for its characterizations of this team of freelance soldiers of fortune and the wild inventions and schemes they would concoct to capture the bad guys. No matter how daunting the odds (or how much things went astray at times), the plan always came together in the end. Sometimes, even events that the team couldn’t foresee were used to work in their favor.

Our church had been “in the wilderness” for some time; we didn’t have a full-time pastor. God, in His perfect timing, brought us our current pastor, who’s been serving for the last 5 months here. As he shared his testimony with us upon his start in our church’s pulpit, we could see God’s hand in the absolute perfect timing of bringing our church and this pastor together. This man had been serving God in several capacities before finally bringing him to our town. Though he was able to get work in religious schools and such, teaching the Bible, he knew in his heart that God had something else in mind for him. The amazing thing was that his resume was in our list of candidates, but our pastor search committee only came back to it upon a second look through the stack. When he he shared that testimony with us, we could now easily see God’s hand in some of the reasons it took a while for us to get a new pastor…and that it took the same “while” to bring this man to our church. God was in control!

Peter’s vision and Cornelius’s vision now dovetail in this passage. Peter shares with Cornelius’s household and friends that God has revealed to him that He shows no partiality…salvation is available to all, not just the Jews. This is literally earth-shattering news at this stage of history with Jews and Gentiles (as you’ll see in Acts 11). God told Cornelius that he was to summon Peter; God showed Peter his change to the status-quo…and then brought them together for a memorable revelation.

When I shared these devotional thoughts with my wife, she stated “He (God) brought His plan together.”. This, in turn, made me remember the motto of Hannibal Smith.

I’m smiling right now, as I say….I love it when a plan comes together!

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Verses 14-15: “But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.””

The following is an excerpt from the 25th anniversary episode of BBC’s Doctor Who, entitled “The Five Doctors”:

The First Doctor and Tegan had entered Rassilon’s Dark Tower, at the heart of which was his tomb. The Doctor, along with later regenerations of himself, past and current companions, and past enemies, was forced to play the Game of Rassilon, the greatest of the Time Lords of Gallifrey. Standing just inside the entrance was a checkerboard-painted floor. Realizing it might be a trap, the Doctor held Tegan back while he pitched coins onto each row. Tegan, the Earth-born stewardess, was impatient, but the Doctor was insistent. About halfway across with the coins, the trap was sprung. Electrical bolts showered down upon the checkerboard floor!

Doctor: “Diabolical ingenuity! Nothing happens until you reach the fifth row, halfway,…and then the entire board becomes a death-trap!”
(The Master, the Doctor’s arch-enemy in later regenerations, appears behind them)
Master: “Our ancestors had such a wonderful sense of humor.”
Doctor: (not recognizing the Master, since he not encountered him in this incarnation) “Do I know you, young man?”
Master: “Believe it or not, we were at the Academy together.”
Tegan: (knowing who the Master was) “What do YOU want?”
Master: “To help.” (Ironically, he had been really sent by the High Council of Gallifrey to rescue the Doctor)
Tegan: (sarcastically) “That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.”
Master: “Believe what you like; I should advise you to hide. I’ve got some very suspicious allies close behind me.” (At this point, a squad of Cybermen slowly enter the hall. Tegan pulls the First Doctor behind a wall.)

The Cybermen had captured the Master, and he deceptively offered to be their guide. He demonstrates how to cross the checkerboard safely, much to the surprise of the Doctor and Tegan. Even after most of the Cyber-patrol was struck down by the lightning, the Master reassures the Cyber-Leader that the safe path still exists, it just changes every time. The Master treacherously shoots the Cyber-Leader as they are crossing the board; chuckling, he crosses back to the Doctor and Tegan.

Tegan: “Wasn’t that a little ruthless, even for you?”
Master: “In one of the many wars on your miserable little planet, they used to drive sheep across mine fields…principle’s the same.”
Tegan: “Not quite…this mine field is still just as dangerous!”
Master: “Do you think so?” (The Master then hops and skips differently across the board to the other side). “Try it Doctor, it’s as easy as pie!”
(the Master disappears down the opposite corridor.)
Doctor: “What an extraordinary fellow. As easy as pie? As easy as pie??”
Tegan: “That’s what he said.”
Doctor: “No, he didn’t! He said ‘easy as PI’, the Greek letter Pi!”

The Doctor went on to explain that by using the mathematical formula for Pi, you could figure out the safe way to cross, which he did, and then led Tegan across as well.

That took a while to detail to you, but I wanted to explain the background of this scene from one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, so that I could point out that, although the Master was taunting the Doctor by saying “easy as pie”, he also, accidentally or on purpose, gave him a clue to the solution. So, “easy as pie” had two meanings.

Peter was on the rooftop of Simon the tanner’s house, praying and being hungry, too. Suddenly a vision appeared to him of a great blanket of all sorts of animals in it, being lowered to him, and the Holy Spirit instructing him to kill and to eat. Peter, still reacting with his Jewish upbringing, said he shouldn’t eat unclean animals. The Holy Spirit continues to tell him that what God has declared clean is clean indeed.

I once heard someone joke (and I wish I could recall who!), “And God made barbeque, and said it is good!” 🙂 God told Peter that the animals were clean to eat. But the double meaning, just like “easy as pie”, comes when Cornelius’s visitors arrive, and Peter realizes that God also meant that salvation was no longer just for the Jews! He realized it and preached it…as easy as pie.

More to come.

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