Acts 11 | …”And Don’t Call Me Shirley”

Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:  

“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance, I saw a vision. I saw something
like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down
to where I was. I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts,
reptiles, and birds. Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ “I re-
plied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’  “The
voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has
made clean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.”

Acts 11:4-10  

When my oldest daughter was 16, we decided to hand down our 2000 Ford Focus to her as her first car. She, however, was not all that excited about the car only because it was a stick shift. That meant she had to contend with another pedal and learn that all too uncommon skill (these days anyway) of driving a car with a manual transmission. It was a challenge to teach her. There were a couple of times after both of us experienced whiplash from her attempts to start out in first gear, she emphatically said, “I can’t do this dad, and I don’t want to.”  I assured her if she stuck with it she would be driving it better than I could in less than three weeks. Alas, those were my best prophetic words to date, and she learned to shift smoother than Jeff Gordon at the Daytona 500 (that’s a NASCAR reference for all of you who don’t like watching cars turn left again and again and again…).

In Acts 11, Peter recounts how God blew his mind with the vision of the unclean animals and the revelation that the Gospel message was going to be spread to, of all people, the Gentiles. I love Peter’s response to the prompting to eat the unclean animals. He says (and rather emphatically it appears), ‘Surely not, Lord!’

How many times has God prompted you or me to do something and we have said (either audibly but more likely in our minds and hearts) “Surely not, Lord!?” If you are like me, you probably have to meekly and slowly raise your hand. There are times that God either reveals the truth to us that rocks our current false beliefs or asks us to do something we are not comfortable doing. Our initial reaction may be “Surely not, Lord!” However, we should follow Peter’s act of obedience and faith and realize God’s truth trumps our own false beliefs and our comfort zones. Let’s think about that the next time God comes knocking and let’s respond like Peter who said in verse 17, “…who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”

One Comment

  1. Christine Cunningham

    God’s purpose quite often makes us very uncomfortable. Surely, obedience is better than sacrifice! It’s easy to stay complacent and say, “Surely not, Lord!” It’s not so easy to say, “Not my will but yours, Lord.”…then do it!

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