Sacrificial Obedience

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

Acts 10:1-8

Acts 10 is amazing for all of us non-Jewish people. I have been tempted to keep it as a whole, but decided against it as the beautiful plan of God is flushed out in this wonderful story.

It all starts in beautiful Caesarea, a seaside ancient city that is still breathtaking with all the ruins. I’m told that part of Caesarea is in the sea and scuba divers can explore Caesarea’s amazing underwater sights. I do not scuba as I have a great fear of being eaten, and my husband and children all make great fun of me because they absolutely love it.

An Italian centurion named Cornelius, who was a devout believer, a sacrificial giver and commander of 100 soldiers, had a vision from the Lord. It scared him! The Lord told him that his prayers and alms (money given to the poor) ascended as a memorial to God. I find it wonderful and challenging that obedience in giving made the Lord comment on it. God notices sacrificial obedience and He honors it. When we give out of a cheerful heart, God is pleased with us. Anyway, God tells Cornelius to send men to Joppa to get Peter. Cornelius obeys.

Cornelius was obviously not poor. He had position, he had money, and yet he recognized who it came from and used it to minister to the poor. God was delighted by Cornelius’ use of resources. I guess I have a picture of this big strong soldier who was meek and godly and an example for all believers. So, the question is; how are you using your resources for the Lord? Are your prayers and alms ascending as a memorial to God?

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