Saturday, October 24, 2009

“Emmanuel, God is with us”

Today’s reading - Acts 10:23b -29 (NIV): The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."

27Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"

I love the way Peter follows God. He understands Jewish law, but the wisdom given to him through the Holy Spirit continues to lead him in his decision making. He is not afraid of what might happen because of going into the home of the gentiles; instead he talks with them, explaining exactly what God revealed to him. God is with him!

It is good for all of us to have moments of confidence like Peter had because we are each faced with many temptations in life, such as greed, envy or jealousy. We are inclined to spend more emotional energy on struggles rather than leaning on the everlasting God. Peter knows why he is there yet he asks them if they know. As a believer, I know that truth and righteousness is within me, but I must ask the spirit in to make it come alive. Peter knows and soon others will also. Emmanuel, God is with us.

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC, Nixa, MO

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Allowing the Lord In"

Today's reading - Acts 10:17-23 (NIV): 17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.

18They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. 20So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."

21Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"

22The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say." 23Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

Peter has continued meditating and in response the Spirit speaks to him again. God has revealed to him that the three men are coming and he is not to hesitate to meet them. Peter’s act of piety through prayer, meditation and listening have taken him into a deeper relationship with God. Peter is responding to God’s direction.

When we hear God’s direction sometimes it is loud and clear and other times when we busy ourselves, we fail to hear His direction. Each time we are obedient to the message God provides us, we are taking another step in our discipleship walk and we learn more about God. By listening, Peter learned God had a mission for him and he openly accepted it and invited the men in.

I am going to do my best to listen this weekend to see when I need to open the door and let God in.

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC
Nixa, Mo.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

“Approach God”

Acts 10:9-16 (NIV) 9About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.

13Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

14"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

15The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
16This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

We have all heard the phrase ‘third time is a charm” and I wonder if it might have originated from this text? I doubt it, but I had to say it anyway.

What captures me in this scripture is that Peter had gone to the roof to pray. He was not ashamed to leave the company he was with to spend time with God. He had spent time with Jesus and he knew that prayer was vital to life. Jesus set the example.

There have been times when I pray that I just stop right in the middle and sit there thinking, experiencing and in awe of God. Perhaps this is a trance similar to what Peter experienced. A time to soak in the entirety God offers. Taking time to hear God speak and give direction dedicating oneself to God. For me to give up my own desires and to not question God takes practice on my part. I must do this over and over and experience His richness and fullness in order to grow my faith. I must step away from those around me as Peter did, and go, specifically to pray.

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC
Nixa, MO.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Wait Upon the Lord"

Today's reading - Acts 10:5-8 (NIV): The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."

7When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

It is wonderful to know that when we are sincere in our prayers and generosity that they are offered before God. We do not do the offering; a sincere offering belongs to the Lord and comes from His work within us. We deserve nothing. The Lord is preparing a blessing for Cornelius and those around him as they have been leading faithful lives following God’s ways. The angel messenger has made an impression and Cornelius obeyed his orders and is waiting what God has planned for him.

We must all serve the Lord and wait upon the Lord with a sincere heart. Here we have an example to follow. Serve, pray, listen, follow and wait.

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC
Nixa, MO.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today's reading - Acts 10:1-4 (NIV): 1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"

4Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.

Dialogue is conversation between two individuals and in this scripture it is between a man of God and an angel of God. We understand that Cornelius is a devoted man, to his family, to helping others, to his religious upbringing and a believer in one God and now God is blessing him by sending an angel to him.

As mankind turns to believe in the one true God of creation and dialogues with Him without ceasing, the world will be a better place and God will speak to the hearts of mankind. We will not have to fear God himself, but fear the reality for those that do not believe. When believers face God He will know us but the ugly truth is when non-believers face God, it will only be for an instant rather than for eternity.

Look into the mirror at yourself for a few moments, then ask if you see the angel that the Lord is sending to a non-believer?

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC
Nixa, Mo.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"On our knees"

Today’s reading Acts 9: 39-43: 39Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

40Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

The power of God is magnificent and Peter got down on his knees and prayed to God for a miracle for this community. We really don’t know in these verses if he asked specifically for the resurrection, what we do know is that he prayed and then spoke to Dorcas telling her to get up. It is possible God choose to resurrect Dorcas to reinforce His power to these women around her.

Those around her that had been crying were mourning her loss and she had been such a servant to them, providing them with clothing they would not have had without her help. The Lord gave to them unconditionally, the gift of life for Dorcas.

The story spread around Joppa swiftly, that is just like God to give His people the pleasure of His works without holding back anything. Complete and full supply of their friend, they were not expecting this, but received it!

We must approach God on our knees asking Him to bless those that serve the widows and the poor and ask Him to grant his mighty power.

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC
Nixa, MO

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Today’s Reading - Acts 9:36-38 (NIV): 36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas, who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!"

It is wonderful to have someone to call upon in the time of sorrow, especially when a friend or family member or someone like Dorcas, who cared for many in her community, becomes ill and succumbs to death. Many people had been touched by her generous life, her spirit of servant hood to the poor.

The disciples and those around her knew that God had provided many miracles and in their desperation, they sent for Peter to come to their side. Their need was for comfort. God is our comforter and He wants to be, however, many of us only cry out to Him when we need his comforting. There is more to God! As we cry out like this, no matter what the human need is, we are assured the presence of God.

Call upon Him in confusion, in transition, in moral decisions, in ministry needs, in service choices, in opportunities to do good, in joys of new birth, new relationships, marriages, your children’s accomplishments and in all things He will be your comforter! Oh, the splendor of the King!

Dorothy Drago Brucks
Aldersgate UMC
Nixa, Mo.