“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
1 Now [living] at Caesarea there was a man whose name was Cornelius, a centurion [captain] of what was known as the Italian Regiment,
2 A devout man who venerated God and treated Him with reverential obedience, as did all his household; and he gave much alms to the people and prayed continually to God.
3 About the ninth hour [about 3:00 p. m.] of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God entering and saying to him, “Cornelius.”
4 And he, gazing intently at him, became frightened and said, “What is it, Lord?” And the angel said to him, “Your prayers and your [generous] gifts to the poor have come up [as a sacrifice] to God and have been remembered by Him.
5 And now send men to Joppa and have them call for and invite here a certain Simon whose surname is Peter;
6 He is lodging with Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.”
Cornelius was a gentile, but he venerated and reverenced God, as did his household. He prayed continuously to God and he gave a lot of money to those less fortunate than himself. These two things – his praying and his giving – came up as a sacrifice before God. They got God’s attention. Because of this, God moved supernaturally on his behalf to bring salvation to him and his household. When you honor God with your heart and with your actions, He notices you and remembers what you did. He will move on your behalf to bless you.
When God created man, He gave them a garden with everything they needed. They lacked no good thing. When their disobedience removed them from this garden and their abundant supply, they began to know lack and deprivation for the first time. It was not in God’s plan for man that they be in lack and want. Even though man has been disobedient, God loves them and cares for them and desires to bless and provide for them. God wants those of us who have – to share with those of us who don’t. God never blesses you so you can be selfish – He blesses you to bless you – and to bless those who cross your path.
Proverbs 14:31 (NIV)
31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
When you are kind to those in need and when you do what you can to help them, you are showing respect and honor to God. When you overlook the poor and you pass over opportunities to help – then you show contempt toward God – no matter what a good Christian you claim to be.
Proverbs 19:17 (NAS)
17 He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.
When you are gracious (showing grace and mercy) to a poor man – you are lending to the Lord. God sees, remembers, and repays you. You give to the poor as much for his sake as yours. God watches your attitude. He watches to see if you walk in love and generosity toward everyone – not only to those in your own circle.
You might not have much to give. You might only be able to give $5 or $10 or $20, but that could mean the difference between someone else being able to eat that day or not! It is not the amount – it is the fact that you care enough to be generous toward others with what God has given you.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJ)
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
God provided for every one of us to be redeemed from poverty through the sacrifice that Jesus made. The way you tap into the blessings available to you is to give – and one of the ways you give is to give as much as you can to those less fortunate than yourself. God sees, He hears, He remembers – and He supernaturally brings to you the things you need the most!