An Unexpected Gift
Mary and I settled in our seats in the auditorium at Southern Bible. Our school was having a special night of outreach to prospective students and the draw for the night was a high school choir. One of the Administrators in the Desoto High School graduated from SBI, so Dr. Hawkins, our president, had an inside track to get the choir to come. When they started to sing, it was amazing—sounded like we had been transported to Christ Church in Oxford and were listening to the Cathedral Choir. Their director was a gifted musician and a committed believer. The Spirit of God filled the place, and I needed those moments. It was an unexpected gift, and the Holy Spirit loves surprises.
The Apostle Peter experienced one of these surprises when the Holy Spirit suddenly interrupted his sermon in Cornelius’ home. When the Spirit decided to bring Pentecost to Caesarea, the sermon was over and the jubilant praise began. They heard his words about the cross and the resurrection. They believed it, and when the Spirit of God came upon them, there could be no argument about who was included in Jesus’ new family.
“While Peter was speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the Word. And those of the circumcision, the Jewish believers who accompanied Peter from Joppa to Caesarea, were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles; for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God for the great things he had done.
So Peter responded, ‘Can anyone keep water from these folks? Can we withhold baptism from them? The Holy Spirit has already baptized them, just like He baptized us.’ So Peter ordered them to be baptized in the Name of Jesus, the Messiah, and they asked Peter to remain with them for several days.” - Acts 10:44-48
Peter and his fellow Jewish believers would have missed this unexpected outpouring and all the joyous baptisms if they hadn’t obeyed God’s command to go and have personal fellowship in the home of those they had previously shunned. We need to do the same.
LORD, help Mary and me to respond to those nudges from your Holy Spirit. Help us not to hang only with those who are like us, but to connect across barriers like Peter did by being willing to become a guest in Cornelius’ home.
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