A devotional for women, featuring the New Living Translation
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New Living Translation - Women’s Devotional
 
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Monday October 23rd, 2017
 
We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.
 
Acts 15:11, NLT
 
The neighbor across the street finally decided to take me up on the invitation to visit my church. Although I was delighted that I had been persuasive (he certainly needed to change), I had second thoughts when he showed up. His language, his unkempt hairdo, and even his clothes were glaringly out of place. I was suddenly uncomfortable and concerned that guilt by association would mar my reputation. But at Bible study I was put to shame. I discovered that he and I were brother and sister in Christ. I found myself entranced by his stories, his experiences, insights, and perspectives. I certainly found out I had a lot to learn from this unconventional neighbor.

Why didn’t I discover this about him earlier? I had allowed my pride and prejudice to cloud my judgment. The kind of pride that sometimes keeps me from recognizing Jesus. The kind of prejudice that keeps me from knowing God’s family or easing the way for others to become part of the family. I must be more careful how I judge, for I’m discovering how quickly I can find myself humbled. Sound familiar?

Peter, always an emotionally volatile and opinionated man, had a tough time from the start with Jesus. He frequently opened his mouth only to insert his foot. But as Peter watched Jesus and walked with him, he began to understand how God’s kingdom runs, namely, with grace. Peter, like us, had to relearn this lesson almost every day. Later, he even had to accept a rebuke from Paul regarding the equal access by Gentiles to the gospel (see Galatians 2:11-21). Here in Acts 15, we read about the Jerusalem council, where both Peter and James spoke up for the Gentiles: “God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith” (vv. 8-9).

God asks us to make it easy for all believers to worship together, regardless of how they dress or speak. No matter what their political views or their family history, we are asked to work toward unity. Pride and prejudice are enemies of the kingdom and have no place in the church. We ask God to give us open hearts toward all believers. We ask for eyes that look with grace on those who know him and those who have not met him yet.
 
 
 
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