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Acts 10:1-8 (NIV)
Cornelius Calls for Peter
10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One 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!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
What is unusual about this centurion and his encounter with God?
Lord, You loved me and knew my heart before I knew You. While I was still a sinner, You gave Your life for me on the cross and conquered sin and death for eternity. You pursue those who You love. Cornelius was outside of the Jewish community allowed to worship You. He was an uncircumcised centurion. But he was religious, generous, and prayed regularly as the devout Jews did. You accepted his prayers and reached out to him in a miraculous way. He was obedient without dispute or delay. Through him, You opened the way for disciples to include Gentiles as part of the command to go out to All Nations. You love all people, even those who do not fit into the stereotype of someone who would follow You. There is no predetermined requirement that has to be met before following You. You see acts of kindness and generosity and You hear prayers of those who call out to You but You want their hearts and souls and to bring them into Your family. You love the people of all nations, backgrounds, and lifestyles and You call them to You. You know them and pursue them. Let them be obedient to Your call. You give them messages through people, situations, and sometimes You even speak to them directly. Help them be obedient and accept Your invitation. Help me to assist, encourage, and guide those who may not know You but are hearing Your call. I was once lost, but now I am found. Let all people follow Your voice so that they too may be found. Amen