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Archive for December, 2018

In our lives there are people who are are mentors or people who we look up to. People who have lived a life that we want to live up to. Examples in the Bible of an individual that walks by faith and lives what he believes. 

In Acts 10 there is a certain man. A man that stands out in his class of people. Cornelius was an officer of the army of considerable rank and figure, a centurion. This is important because this man was a Gentile. At that time to share the true Gospel with anyone else but a Jew was unheard of. This was a mystery and surprise to the apostles. 

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band…

I love that he was of the band called The Italian Band. Part of my family are Italian. I am so thankful that God allowed the Gospel to be preached to Cornelius and those like me. 

He was a devout man. He had very good character. Not an idolater, not a worshipper of false gods or images. Nor did he allow himself in any of those immoralities to which the greater part of the gentile world was given up to. He made a decision to serve God. He surrender to God’s will & ways. His mind, will, actions, & emotions surrendered and was devoted to God. 

He feared God. Not fearful, but revered God. Looks to Him & His sovereignty, surrenders to His ways in awe. Received instructions willingly, faithfully and his priority is to have a relationship with God. Not only did he fear God but brought his household in to that same relationship. His life touched all those that were around him. He made a difference in their lives because of the way he lived his. 

Proverbs 1:7 (AMP)

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];

But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.

He was a very charitable man, He Gave Much… Matt. 6:1-3 Do unto God, 2 Cor. 9:6 Sow bountifully, 2 Cor 9:7 be a cheerful giver. 

Matthew Henry: Wherever the fear of God rules in the hear, it will appear both in the works of charity and of piety, and neither will excuse us from the other. 

He was much in Prayer. Why pray – The sovereignty of God – He is supreme. 2 Pet 3:9 He is not slack, He is long-suffering, & God changes not. God’s character should cause us to pray. He is compassionate, long-suffering, loving, merciful, good, tender, gracious are just a few of God’s characters that causes us to pray and believe Him as Cornelius did. 

Wherever the fear of God rules in the heart, charity, prayer, etc… will prevail in a persons life as it did in Cornelius. His prayers and alms went up to God as a memorial to him. 

1 Peter 2:12(AMP)

Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved] Gentiles [conduct yourself honorably, with graciousness and integrity], so that for whatever reason they may slander you as evildoers, yet by observing your good deeds they may [instead come to] glorify God in the day of visitation [when He looks upon them with mercy].

He had a good reputation. It’s not easy to get a good reputation & to keep it. There is always someone who doesn’t like what you do & who you are. HCSB – He had a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation. They would vouch for him. 

I love the Newsboys song, Cornelius: (this is pieces of the song)

“Cornelius”

And every generation’s got

The fearless few who can’t be bought

They don’t take polls or look around

They act on truth, and then they stand their ground

Cornelius

Core-strong like a centurion

I wanna be Cornelius

Core-strong like a centurion

I wanna be Cornelius

His kneel is real

His kneel is real

My prayer is that we all would walk out our lives with the same dedication to God as Cornelius. That we would be real in a world that thrives on being fake. They do everything to cover up who they really are. Let’s be people of prayer, of good character, fear God, and walk in the truth God has revealed to us. 

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Lydia had the honor to have her name written in the bible. Acts 16:13-15 Lydia worshipped God even though she was busy with the business of her daily life. She was a seller of purple. One of the trade guilds in Thyatira made expensive purple dye, probably from the roots of the madder plant. She took the time out of her day to honor God. This shows that we have a profession in life, but we must honor God in our daily walk. God directs us to minister to those we meet in the work he has blessed us with. That can be in the home or outside the home. What ever God give us to do, we must do to his honor. Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 

Although the bible does not say that she was married, scholars have speculated that she was a widow who brought her late husband’s business to Philippi. The other women with Lydia in Acts may have been employees and slaves. These women are in VS 13 – And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.

Matthew Henry: Though she had a calling to mind, yet she was a worshipper of God, and found time to improve advantages for her soul. The business of our particular callings may be made to consist very well with the business of religion, and therefore it will not excuse us from religious exercises alone, and in our families, or in solemn assemblies, to say, We have shops to look after, and a trade to mind; for have we not also a God to serve and a soul to look after? Religion does not call us from our business in the world, but directs us in it. Every thing in its time and place.

She heard what Paul was teaching. She did not just hear with her ears, but with her heart. God worked in her life. He opened her heart so that she attended unto those things Paul talked about. She didn’t just hear the words, she acted upon what she heard. (Act 16:14) She applied the word to herself. She paid close attention to Paul’s Preaching, causing her conversion. She was immediately baptized and her household. Her faithful pursuit of God as a Jew caused the Holy Spirit to make her receptive to Paul’s Message of the Gospel. God opened her heart as He wants to open many others. Lydia showed a humble, trusting spirit. Right away she was an example to those around her bringing her household into the same salvation she had recieved.  

Matthew Henry: it is in the heart that the change is made, it is to the heart that this blessed turn is given; it was the heart of Lydia that was wrought upon. Conversion-work is heart-work; it is a renewing of the heart, the inward man, the spirit of the mind. When the heart is thus opened to Christ, the ear is opened to his word, the lips opened in prayer, the hand opened in charity, and the steps enlarged in all manner of gospel obedience.

She took time to serve and comforted those who entered her heart. 

Matthew Henry: She desired an opportunity of receiving further instruction. If she might but have them for awhile in her family, she might hear them daily (Prov. 8:34), and not merely on sabbath days at the meeting. In her own house she might not only hear them, but ask them questions; and she might have them to pray with her daily, and to bless her household. Those that know something of Christ cannot but desire to know more, and seek opportunities of increasing their acquaintance with his gospel.

Lydia was quick to share her earthly blessings with Paul and his friends. She credited God for her abundance. She is an example of a good steward. We can not pay God back for our salvation, but out of the heart we will share what God has blessed us with. 

Lydia was a worshiper of God but, like Cornelius in Act 10, had not yet heard the Gospel. It is so neat that God brought Paul to where she was so she could be in the right place to hear the Good News of the Gospel. God prepared her heart to receive the life-giving message. In this story, so full of divine intervention, we see the sovereignty of God in salvation; as Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” John 6:44. God is working in your heart today to receive His son Jesus as your personal savior. 

A Prayer for Salvation
A Prayer to Accept Jesus as Savior

Dear Heavenly Father,

I believe that Jesus died for me.

I believe that Jesus paid for my sins on the cross.

I believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I ask you to wash me clean of all sin.

I put my faith and trust in Jesus as my only hope for living eternally with you in heaven.

I ask Jesus to be my Savior and my Lord. I want to live my life for Christ.

I understand that my salvation is not based on my works but on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Thank you for saving me!

Amen!

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