Acts 10:3 One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” 4 He stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?”
Imagine a messenger from several pay grades higher than your supervisor walks up to your desk and calls you by name. What is your first reaction?
Cornelius, a devout man, responds in terror.
When I was an EMT, I had trained thoroughly to respond to a wide variety of emergencies, including teaching others how to respond. Yet when actually called to serve, fear would come along for the ride.
Judges 13:22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”
Todays readings include three stories of people encountering God and having their lives radically changed: Manoah and his wife entertain an angel and become the parents of Sampson; Stephen becomes a Deacon and when faced with false charges is imbued with an angelic quality; and a Samaritan woman meets Jesus at the well and receives living water.
The Bible records several people meeting God, some even face to face. None of whom die physically, but all are changed so radically they can never be who they were. Modern conversion experiences have many similarities. Thus we affirm, “So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
Psalm 147:10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; 11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Today’s Old Testament reading details Gideon’s victory over the Midianites, a victory not given to a great and powerful army from all of the tribes of Israel, but to 300 carefully selected warriors armed with a torch hidden in a clay jar, a trumpet, and faith in the LORD.
This week a store clerk made the news by talking to an armed robber about her faith. At the end of their conversation, as captured on a security camera, the robber walked out of the store empty handed.
What might you do this week to demonstrate the power of your faith over the strength of a horse or the speed of a runner?