Saturday, March 31, 2012

Acts 10:1-3

Summary retelling of Acts 10:1-3

Today we get to meet Cornelius, a centurion.  He was a part of the Italian Cohort – putting him in one of the most significant groups of people in the Roman army.  He was devout and he feared God.  His whole household (family, kids, slaves, etc) feared God.  He was generous.  He prayed.  One day an angel comes to him and addresses him by name.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Cornelius is said to “fear” the Lord.  This word fear is literally the Greek word “phobeo.”  From this word we get the word phobia.  However, the Greek word phobeo doesn’t mean what phobia means.  Phobeo can mean innate fear – like the flight instinct in prey animals.  But it can also mean a fear that is derived from awe.  Think about standing in the presence of God.  Does that make you want to run away, or does it merely make you want to bow your head and absorb a greatness that you cannot understand?  That is what it means to have fear of the Lord.  We don’t fear Him in that we run away From His presence.  Rather, we acknowledge how much we don’t belong in His presence, how much we can’t understand Him, and just soak up what we can while we are there.

Have you ever been in a time and place where you “feared the Lord?”  When was it and how did it feel?

Second Thought:
Notice the list of things that is true about Cornelius.  He was devout (meaning that he likely worshipped God and studied God’s Word).  He prayed regularly.  He was generous and served.  His whole household was engaged in spiritual relationships with one another.  Cornelius is a model for PoWeR SuRGe!  (Pray, Worship, Read/study, Serve, Relate, Give)  Bet you didn’t see that one coming!  But notice that Cornelius prepared himself for his meeting with the angel by being a true disciple beforehand.  Cornelius was already devout before God got in direct contact with him.  We are called to be devout from day one.  We are called to prepare.

How good are you at sticking to your spiritual preparation?  Do you take it as seriously as you should?  Do you recognize the goal of being spiritually prepared?

Third Thought:
An angel comes to Cornelius.  Now, fess up.  How cool would that be?  I’m not going to make a big deal about it here beside saying that this would be really cool.  And yes, I’m going to point out that we need to believe it was an angel.  It wasn’t some vision.  It wasn’t a figment of Cornelius’ mind.  A messenger of the Lord comes to Cornelius to deliver a message to him.  That’s really cool.

Do you honestly believe angels exist?

Ironically enough, as I wrote this thought the song “Looking for Angels” by Skillet is playing over my computer speakers.  God’s pretty cool like that.  Only he could have worked out this timing when I turned on my computer almost 2 hours ago!  (Click on the Song title to go to Youtube and hear it if you aren't familiar with it.)

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 10: 4-8
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