One of my favorite leaders lives by a really great saying, “let’s catch people doing things right”. How uplifting this is in a world where we can easily criticize or be criticized. This theme gives freedom from worrying about mistakes and instead gives freedom to try new things, to turn from an attitude of fear into one of anticipation of good things to come. Freedom from fear brings life to innovation and creativity, and enables us to experience joy that we were meant to experience.
We recently went to our fourth grader’s “student led” school conference. The focus was on accentuating the positive and building on his strengths. He had guidelines to lead us in the conference, but it was his to lead. He showed us his test results, shared what he believes are his strengths, and what he is working to build. We wouldn’t typically refer to him as someone bursting with pride or exterior confidence, but today he was bold and confident, yet humble as he quietly conveyed his progress so far this year. The model is setup to build, not tear down, and it was successful. He was caught doing things right.
Today’s reading link: Acts 10
In our reading today we find two devout men who separately experience a vision from God. The two visions are tied together and are part of a great purpose; to share Christianity with the Gentiles.
Our God is not some lightning throwing bully waiting for us to mess up; he is a loving God, seeking relationship with us, seeking for our hearts to turn to him as father, and to his son Jesus for salvation from our sins that separate us from God. He is the ultimate example of one who is looking to catch us doing things right.
but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:35)
The thing that caught my attention in this chapter was the description of Cornelius. This reminded me of Carol’s recent post where she brought Peter’s transformation to our attention. Early on, Peter was a fan of Jesus, but as the earlier chapters in Acts describe the events that occurred when he “finally got it”, he became on fire for Jesus.
As for Cornelius… Acts Chapter 10 verses 2 and 22 refer to Cornelius as devout, one who feared God, a generous giver, in continuous prayer, upright, and well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation.
Peter and Cornelius had their hearts and actions right with God, they were caught doing things right, and that is why I believe they received such great visions and callings. Their prayers, and the way they lived brought them into close fellowship with God, and in both situations after the visions they took immediate action.
Today I want to close with a reflection on Good Friday and paraphrase Acts Chapter 10 verses 38-43. Would you read this slowly and meditate on it?
Jesus lived on this earth, did good things, and healed people. Regardless of his goodness and love, he was brutally tortured and hung on a tree until death. His accusers thinking they had defeated Jesus were dead wrong. Jesus came back from the dead; he defeated death, and commanded us to share this story so that everyone who believes in him will be forgiven.
Here are the actual verses in full. Consider the paraphrased version as you read through and meditate on these sharp and precise words from Peter.
He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:38b-43)