May 7th

Catching God’s Attention

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. 5The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. Acts 10:1-5 NIV

Cornelius was a man who caught God’s attention in a special way.  He and his family “were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).  God sent an angel to visit Cornelius and give him encouragement and specific guidance. In the Amplified version, the angel said, “Your prayers and your [generous] gifts to the poor have come up [as a sacrifice] to God and have been remembered by Him” (Acts 10:4 AMP).  

If we consider for a moment the billions of people on the earth, it’s remarkable that God would take time out of his busy schedule to speak to any of us.  Yet, the scripture tells us that God’s thoughts toward each of us outnumber the sand grains at the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18)!  Cornelius’ reverence for God, generosity and prayer caught God’s attention.  As a result, God chose him and his household as the first Gentiles to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Cornelius’ model can be used as a simple yardstick for our lives. Are we cultivating daily habits that honor God?  Are we giving generously to those around us in need?  Are we praying to God regularly?  If we make it a priority to do these things consistently, we will catch God’s attention!  In response, God may bring a blessing our way that we didn’t expect.  As a faith builder, we can think on this verse: “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you”  (Psalm 31:19 NIV). 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Dear God, Thank you for the story of Cornelius and how he caught your attention in a special way.  Father, please lead me in following Cornelius’ example.  Specifically, please help me to ______________(list areas where improvement is needed).  Thank you for the great goodness that you store up for those who fear you and that you bestow it on those who take refuge in you.  Father, teach me how to fear you and take refuge in you daily.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”