While extraordinary in terms of its importance and place in the narrative of the early church in the book of the Acts, the story of the conversion of Cornelius also speaks volumes to us today about the nature of everyday missionary endeavor. For, it is still true that there are, all around us, people, neighbors, and even nations that honestly seek God the best way that they know how.

To those like Cornelius who seek God in prayer and good deeds the word here to them, I argue, is “the Lord hears you” or as was told by the angel “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.” And yet also like Cornelius, they must hear the gospel. 

Interestingly, when the Lord moves to answer Cornelius’ heartfelt plea to know Him he does not answer by angelic proclamation. In fact, the angel’s purpose in this story is simply to alert him that God has heard him and to go and get Peter from Joppa some 30 miles away. Notice, the angel does not preach the gospel. That mission was given to the disciples and to the church in Matthew 28. So I argue then that God’s word to us here in this passage, the Church, is precisely this: we are the God’s answer to the prayer of the nations to know the true God. He wants to send us, like Peter, to share the good news of the gospel with them, no matter their native religion, culture, ethnicity, race, or degree of wealth or education. Nothing is to hinder our proclamation of the gospel. And as we go, we are to go in humility (cp. Acts 10:26), recognizing our common humanity. 

The nations are crying out to know the Lord. Our neighbors are crying out to know the Lord——and by God’s grace and design, we are the the answer to their prayer. Let us go eagerly then, and as the Lord Jesus has commanded, “make disciples of all nations...”

Posted by Craig Lester with


I am a retired fireman; but, when I was working, it was not uncommon to hear someone state how difficult it was to understand a woman. For the record, I never said that - but I sure was thinking it! These comments were born out of pain, regret, and helplessness because they did not understand their wives and did not believe it was possible. Toward the end of my career God revealed to me that these firefighters already had the skills to learn and understand their wives. Every firefighter develops a particular skill because of Fire Station culture.  It is called agitation - to provoke, goad, tease one another.  Let me explain how we got good at agitation, which I then believe you can also use to better understand your wife.

I could almost turn to any firefighter sitting at the dining table at my station and with just two or three words have him/her angry or feeling complimented. How, because I knew them, understood them, knew their faults/successes. I had taken the time (we worked 24-hr shifts), the interest and curiosity to know all I could learn about them, no matter how trivial. I used listening skills to not just hear but discern their likes, dislikes and emotions detected in their voice. What were they really saying, not judging if their truth aligned to my truth, but what they were exposing about themselves, what was true to them. I did this to learn all I could learn, know, and understand about these individuals. So, when the time came, I could agitate them. Make no mistake the other firefighters were also studying me for the same reason, and we were all good at it. We laughed all the time at someone’s expense.

Examples: One guy showed snakes at High Schools and got bit by a rattle snake. His name became ‘Snakeman’. Another guy bragged he always gave 110%.  His name became ‘One Ten’. One guy had a high voice, he became ‘Squeaky’.  If you were short, they would place a step stool by the Engine where you rode so you could climb on, and not to be nice or thoughtful.  If you did not like fish, they would cook fish for dinner. If you made a mistake that embarrassed you, they loved recounting the incident to you, to your family and your friends. Do you get the picture…?

I instructed the firefighters that they could know and understand their wives better. All they had to do was to use the same skills to know and understand their wives instead of using them to agitate like they do their fellow fire fighters. Like they did at the Fire Station, take the time, not quality time, but rather quantity time to be with her. I instructed them to be interested and curious about who she is, her dreams, her love languages, what she orders to drink at restaurants, how she likes her coffee, her eggs, bacon… How she prefers to start conversations? When, where, is the best time?  What is she needing from you?  Then make a plan to meet those needs. There is so much more to be curious about. We should listen with a desire to know the meaning of her words.  It will take practice and a learning curve; you will have to be patient with her to trust you to open up because this will be new for her; forgiving one another as you both learn this process, because mistakes will be made. As you learn all this knowledge and understanding use it to be loving, considerate, and uplifting toward your wife so that your marriage will be a light to the lost around you. 

1 Peter 3:7 ESV - “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Posted by Manuel Calderon with

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