There was a centurion in the Italian Regiment of the Roman army named Cornelius. Acts 10:2 tells us, “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”
One day, an angel appeared to Cornelius and told him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before the Lord.”
Certainly, we know that God hears and answers prayer, but in this case, the angel specifically noted Cornelius’s gifts to the poor along with his prayers. Isn’t that interesting? Cornelius’s faith was not just talk, he had put it into action in tangible ways that clearly pleased God. In fact, the angel said that his prayers and gifts to the poor were like an offering before the Lord.
This idea is found another time in scripture. In the book of Daniel, God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a dream that Daniel interpreted for him. It warned the king of a horrible situation that was going to happen to him. Daniel implored the king, “Be pleased to take my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue (Daniel 4:27).”
Daniel was telling the king; repent of your sin and prove it by doing what is right and perhaps God will have mercy on you and not send this calamity.
Our good works do not have enough power to bring us salvation. However, they please God. And like Cornelius, we will find that our humble and sincere acts of kindness to others will reach Heaven like an offering.
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Reading Plan–Week Twenty
Day One–Acts 7
Day Two–Acts 8
Day Three–Acts 9
Day Four–Acts 10
Day Five–Acts 11