Paradigm Shifts

Can God change your mind?

listenWhat stirs up strong opinions in you?  Politics, perhaps? Or maybe it is some deep moral conviction that makes your passions rise?  Peter, the apostle, was completely convinced that Jesus and His Gospel was only for Jews. He never even considered that the good news could or should be presented to the Greeks and Romans that lived around him. If you had asked him if he would invite a Gentile to become a child of God, he would have looked at you like you had two heads. It just wasn’t possible.  Except … it was!

In Acts 10, God steps into Peter’s life dramatically aiming to shake up his assumptions and view of life. “Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.”

Peter said, “Oh, no, Lord. I’ve never so much as tasted food that was not kosher.” The voice came a second time: “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.” This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the skies. As Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant, the men sent by Cornelius showed up at Simon’s front door.” (Acts 10:10-17, The Message)

To his credit, he was able to discern what God was saying to him about loving everybody.  Peter took the invitation of Cornelius and went to tell him about Jesus.  There, in that Roman soldier’s home, his change of conviction was completed when the Spirit fell on those newly converted Gentiles and they spoke in tongues just as the apostles had done at the birth of the Church at Pentecost. (Acts 2)  Peter reported his experience to the Jerusalem council with these words that resonate with amazement: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34) And, a whole new era began.

Spiritual growth will bring about disturbance in our convictions, assumptions, and prejudice. Some of those things we ‘just know must be true,’ are not really true at all.  Will we be people of the Spirit who are prepared to listen and learn?

Ptolemy, an astronomer who lived in the first century, set forth an explanation of the universe that set the earth in the center.  His view was argued and defended for 1400 years! The Church accepted the Ptolemaic view as fixed doctrine, threatening anyone who dared question it with a heresy trial! Copernicus came along around 1500 AD and presented the view that the earth orbited the sun. It took courage to challenge accepted knowledge and the status quo.  It took guts and a willingness to think differently.

Few things hinder God’s purposes in us more than a closed mind that says, “I know all about how God works and what God wills.” Change is difficult. Letting the Spirit lead demands courage, deep faith, and a readiness to be disturbed of us.

Do you want to grow and discover His best for you and your world?  Then, listen carefully. Have a child-like mind that is ready to learn from His Word and the Spirit. Be cautious about declaring positions and digging in to defend them.

Here is a word from the Word that excites me. It is an amazing promise of Life that is rich with discovery. It is my favorite text from the Holy Word. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

__________

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown where feet may fail;
And there I find You in the mystery,
In oceans deep, my faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your name,
And keep my eyes above the waves,
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
For I am Yours, and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
Your sov’reign hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.
Oh and You are mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
Let me walk upon the waters,
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
And my faith will be made stronger,
In the presence of my Savior.
I will call upon Your name.

Keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
I am Yours and You are mine!

Joel Houston | Matt Crocker | Salomon Ligthelm
© 2012 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055

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