The Power of a Whisper Reading Plan
Day 17 Reading: Acts 11:1-18
Pastor Lisa’s Journal
The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us.
– Acts 11:12 (NRSV)
In Acts 1:8, Jesus told his followers that they would be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” However, there were major stumbling blocks to the expansion of the Gospel beyond Judaism. Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews, literally “a person of another race”) could not be in deep relationship with one another because Gentiles were understood to be outside the covenant and a source of ritual impurity. For example, Gentiles did not practice the ritual food preparation and eating habits Jews did, so they could not eat together. Some of Jesus’ Jewish followers began to wonder if a Gentile must first become a Jew (including following the lifestyle) in order to then become a Christian. This story makes it clear that God’s answer to this question was, “No.”
The Holy Spirit moves through Peter (a Jew), Cornelius (Cornelius, a Roman centurion and thus a Gentile), and the Jewish believers in Jerusalem to bring God’s answer and a great work- Jews and Gentiles will come together as one congregation under the leadership of Jesus Christ. These whispers and their responses are radical game changers for the first Christians. The concerns about eating together and being in each other’s homes are abolished.
God’s message and confirmation come in different ways, yet all along the way is confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Peter receives this understanding through three visions and by seeing the Gentiles experience what he experienced. Cornelius receives through an angel and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The believers in Jerusalem receive through the power of testimony.
Listening for the voice of the Spirit, for the inner voice, involves an act of holy obedience. The word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means “to listen.” Listening well goes beyond intellectual activity. Wholehearted listening requires bringing our whole self — body, mind, heart, and spirit — into the act of listening.
– Karla M. Kincannon, Creativity and Divine Surprise
God’s whispers can lead us to radical life changes.
Holy One, what changes do you desire to make in me? I am open. I am listening. Come in whatever way you deem is best for me to understand. Make your will known. Make your desires clear. Confirm them by your Spirit. I will do my best to respond, knowing your grace and strength are with me every step of the way. Through Christ my Lord I pray for the glory and honor of your Name, for the expansion of your will and salvation throughout the earth. Amen.
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As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.
I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><
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