Warm Up: Matthew 7: 3-5. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”
Stretching: Read Acts 10
Run: It’s easy to focus on the negatives when you’re running, especially if the run is hard or you don’t feel like running. “It’s too hot.” “The course is uneven.” “I’m not dressed appropriately.” “My legs are tired.” “It’s too wet.” Although it is important to listen to your body, sometimes it helps to shut off your brain. Whereas the irritants can be a distraction, I can find creative ways to divert that negative energy to something more positive. I call these diversions, “Prayer Promptings”. For example, a pebble in my shoe is a reminder to pray for our missionaries in Lima, Peru. When it’s too hot, I think of the work of our missionaries in Thailand and Camobida. That mentality helps me to finish every race I set out to run. Relationships can be like this. I can get so caught up in one negative characteristic of a friend or relative that I lose sight of every other admirable quality. Every time they say that or do this, I get irritated instead of creating a diversion that changes my focus to something more positive. In another dimension, this can be the basis of prejudice with people I don’t even know. Because a person is a certain race or gender or age, I can assign characteristics to them that don’t allow me to see them as a child of God. That ‘minor irritant’ becomes a wall that divides. In today’s story in Acts 10, Peter almost missed God’s plan for the Gentiles because of a prejudice that the Jews had against all other nationalities. In a vision, God showed Peter his prejudice by saying that everything he created was good and Peter was not in a position to determine otherwise. When Peter arrived at Caesarea, he spoke to Cornelius and those who were gathered at his house that day: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” (Acts 10: 34, 35) This represented a clear break in Jewish law and national tradition. This was not the race Peter thought he was training for. But God made the path clear and to Peter’s credit, he followed the way and Cornelius became one of the very first Gentile converts.
Are you missing God’s vision for your life because you can’t get past a prejudice? Who knows that the very people or person that God is calling you to help isn’t someone that you would not consider because of an annoying character flaw or worse yet, an issue of race, nationality, gender, or age?
Cool Down: “Lord, begin to show me the prejudices I have developed against people that you love and died to save. Open my eyes and my mind to consider that these might be the very people you want me to share your plan of salvation with and that my biases could be the thing that keeps them from knowing your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”
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