There is a difference between being a “God-fearer” and a “God-believer”. In Acts 10 we read that Cornelius falls into the first category. He fears God and in the only way he knows, he is seeking this God that he knows about but does not know personally. We meet the Cornelius’ as we wander through our day to day activities. If asked they say, yes I “believe” but they do not “know” the God of the universe in a personal way. Thus this story about Cornelius is significant for us.

For us, it means we must recognize that God has called them for he is not willing that any should perish. Then it takes a step out of our comfort zone to share our faith. This is where Peter, like us, is being nudged by the Spirit to take this step towards a Gentile whom he does not know and one that he considers to be apart from God’s blessings. God’s ways are mysterious but deliberate when He knows that one is hungering but they do not know God’s love and salvation.

It is also significant that God calls Cornelius by name for this is our assurance that God knows us by name whether we are a “God-fearer” or a “God-believer.” We are told that his prayers have been heard and God has the answer and it will come through Simon Peter. Cornelius’ hunger to know this God of the Jews is relevant for this is our world as well. In addition, Peter is much like us in so many ways. We know God, believe God, but often are hesitant to share our faith because of any number of reasons. But God’s ways are not our ways. God sees and hears the hearts of the lost and he uses us to “go and tell the good news” of his love and His forgiveness.

Do you know of someone who is a “God-fearer” but not a “God-believer?” Let God move you and use you!

1Peter—Planning Ahead…

As earthly people we lay up or store away our earthly goods for a rainy day or for the next generation. Proverbs teaches us that a benevolent person leaves an inheritance for their grandchildren for they are our crown. Using this analogy Peter reminds the believers who are temporarily residing abroad and are suffering that God the Father even before the foundation of the world planned for their future. It included an inheritance that has four qualities. Unlike an earthly inheritance that fluctuates with the market value of this earth, the heavenly inheritance is far more valuable for it is

  1. Imperishable…that is it will never deteriorate or lose value
  2. Undefiled…that is it is pure and without spot or wrinkle
  3. Unfading…it keeps its beauty forever
  4. And lastly, it is reserved in heaven awaiting our arrival there upon our death.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for choosing. Know this, Beloved, if you are a believer in Christ you have been chosen, and set apart by the Holy Spirit for our Savior Jesus Christ who was “buried, and raised on the third day according to the scriptures.”  Because you are His child He so loved that He gave and planned.

God planned for your future; have you planned for your heavenly future?

 

 

 

Flashback to a courtyard and our beloved disciple Peter. Do you ever wonder where he was at the end of the gospel of Mark–emotionally, spiritually, physically? Was he pondering what may lie ahead?

After the courtyard experience where he had denied Jesus three times just as prophesied and had left weeping bitterly, Peter returned to the only safe haven he knew in the city of Jerusalem.  John tells us that they were hidden behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. Perhaps they were wondering if they too would be crucified if others found them knowing that their very accents betrayed them. As they sat and mourned the loss of the one they had followed for three years their thoughts did not return to the words of Jesus: “when I am raised, I will meet you in Galilee” but rather their thoughts replayed and rehearsed the past few days and the questions of why, when, how and more. Peter of all would be wondering if ever he could forgive himself and could or would God forgive him? We too have times when we fall and wonder and at these times where we can turn.

We know that John tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection Peter was fully restored…

but Peter is not there yet.

Like many of us who have faced sin, Peter had to walk the road of misery, mourning, wondering and questioning. But, later he will write what truly happened in his personal letter to those who are suffering. He knows the path and he knows how to encourage. Listen to his words and be encouraged if you too have like Peter experienced a time of falling away:

“His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Today, if you are walking with Peter through the agony of dismay, discouragement, despondency for having fallen in some way; take heart, when you repent there is hope. Where there is hope there is joy! Where there is joy there is peace and God’s protection. It is then that Psalm 37 rings forth with words of comfort and peace:

Trust in the Lord, Delight yourself in the Lord, Commit your way to the Lord; Rest in the Lord. This is our journey back to God.