by Pastor Tim Burt
One morning my son Peter was sharing some Bible verses he had been thinking about with me during our devotional time together. He was reading about Cornelius, a military commander who really sought to know and live for God. Acts 10:1-2 (NIV) “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” While most Roman military of that day hated the Jews, Cornelius loved them and was kind and benevolent to them. Because of the purity of this man's heart, his reverence for the Lord, and his actions to do what was right, God answered his prayers by sending those who would help reveal Jesus to Cornelius. My son Peter was simply commenting to me on how even though this man did not have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, God saw and honored Cornelius' heart to help him establish one.
Earlier my son Peter had read in Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV) "You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Now he had seen this promise spoken by Jeremiah come true in Cornelius' life. He learned that God works to reveal himself to those that sincerely seek Him. I was so touched by the insight the Holy Spirit had given him.
It’s likely that many of us reading Fresh Manna today were like Cornelius. Before receiving Jesus into our hearts, we may have thought about God, wanted to know God, and even tried to find ways to live that we hoped would be pleasing to God. We tried to figure out God and how to live for Him from our imagination—something that our imagination can not equip us to properly do.
We may remember having a hunger to truly know God, but didn't know how to make that happen. We probably prayed and pleaded with God—occasionally bargaining with Him when we were in trouble. But we did this from our imagination. We really didn't know what the scriptures taught about God because we hadn't read or studied them yet. Our quest to seek God might have felt pretty one way—us speaking to Him without reciprocation. And like Cornelius, we didn't give up. In some way we kept seeking God in our heart. And thank God we did! Seeking God moves the heart of God. Proverbs 8:17 (NLT) says, “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me." It is because of the grace and mercy of God and our continuing desire to know Him that like Cornelius, God was able to get through to our hearts so we could meet Jesus and receive Him as our personal Lord and Savior.
He knew of Cornelius, of his pure and generous heart, and of his good works. Cornelius didn't have God's word to guide his life but He did reverence God, seek God, and bless others from a pure heart. Nothing that is good and right escapes God's sight. We can count on that! God looks at and honors the heart. He did so for Cornelius. It was powerful. God sent an angel to speak to and comfort him and then to bring his answer—the Apostle Peter to be the one to get him saved.
Have confidence today that if your heart is pure before God in your attempt to seek Him so that you can learn how to live for Him, He will honor that and answer your prayers. Learning and growing is a continuing process, but a sincere seeking heart moves God.
John 14:21 (NLT) "Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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