Today’s Journey Through Scripture readings: Job 17-19; Acts 10:1-23
There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Company. 2 He and his whole household were pious, Gentile God-worshippers. He gave generously to those in need among the Jewish people and prayed to God constantly. 3 One day at nearly three o’clock in the afternoon, he clearly saw an angel from God in a vision. The angel came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
4 Startled, he stared at the angel and replied, “What is it, Lord?”
The angel said, “Your prayers and your compassionate acts are like a memorial offering to God. 5 Send messengers to Joppa at once and summon a certain Simon, the one known as Peter. 6 He is a guest of Simon the tanner, whose house is near the seacoast.” 7 When the angel who was speaking to him had gone, Cornelius summoned two of his household servants along with a pious soldier from his personal staff. 8 He explained everything to them, then sent them to Joppa. (Acts 10:1-8, Common English Bible).
I can’t help it. I believe God still speaks to us. I know there are others like me. I know there are those who carry this idea even further than I, though I will never deny God can and quite possibly does speak to us in individual and clear ways. If God is omnipotent and omnipresent, God is all around us and God can speak to us in any way God might choose to speak to the likes of us.
The bigger question, to my way of thinking, is when God speaks, particularly when we know God is speaking to us, how do we respond? Do you remember when Jesus encountered this guy with lots of stuff? This guy knows who Jesus is. He acknowledges as much when he asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to obey the law and he says he already does that. You can almost hear him, “What else do I need to do Jesus? What? What? What?”
Jesus’ response? “Dude, take all you have, go and sell it, give the money to the poor and come and follow me.” The guy doesn’t respond even with God speaking to him and telling him what he needs to do, he is actually going to do the exact opposite. That is what happened, he went away sad because he had so many possessions.
Of course, this blog is not about our possessions. Well, at least it isn’t about that today. The blog is about how we respond when God speaks to us. In the lesson, Cornelius recognizes that God is speaking through the angel, wanting the groundwork done for a meeting between Cornelius and Peter. And, Cornelius responded. As soon as the angel was gone Cornelius sent to servants and a soldier.
“Well, preacher, the lesson says Cornelius was a pious man. It is easier for someone pious to know an angel when they see one or to know when God is speaking to them.”
That may be true but I don’t think so. Part of the call for you and I is to be awake and alert to the voice of God, which can come to us in many different ways. Then, when we hear God speak, to be ready with our response.
God loves us and God does for us. The things God does for us are not something we can buy, but free gifts. Therefore that response, it isn’t paying for services rendered (by God), it is a response we give as a thanks offering to God for the blessings God has shared with us.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved