Message:  In Acts 10 a man named Cornelius had a vision and so did Peter. The visions they each had were connected to each other and for each of them it required a step of faith. Peter was walking in new territory and God was showing him that the dietary law was no longer necessary and in fact it was no longer acceptable for him to call unclean what God had called clean. The dietary change was just the first step though. God was preparing Peter to enter the previously forbidden Gentile world and preach the gospel. God showed this to Peter in a vision first, and then confirmed it when Cornelius also had a vision and sent his men to the house where Peter was staying. As I read this I thought of all the times God has shown me something in my reading or prayer time and confirmed it shortly after in a situation. I want to be careful that I don’t imply that God changes doctrine, but that he prepares us for things. For me personally, some of the things God prepared me for in advance were not necessarily happy news. There have been times I knew God was preparing me for another battle to fight, but because I knew he was preparing me I was able to face the battle with the right state of mind. I think this was important for Peter. If God hadn’t prepared him in advance he wouldn’t have been able to process what God was asking him to do. He might not have cooperated when the men came for him and even if he did I wonder if he would have dared to enter the home of Cornelius to preach the gospel to all of the people Cornelius had gathered. Preparation is so important. Without it we will find ourselves caught off guard and unprepared for what God is trying to bring us to do. God doesn’t always give us visions like he did with Peter and Cornelius, but we have the advantage they didn’t have at that time. We have the word of God and when we read it with a prepared heart God can speak to us about literally anything. When we are receptive to what God speaks to us we can be better prepared for what God wants to lead us into. Right now I am personally seeking God for direction in some unknown areas. I know that the time I take spending with him is preparing me for what I don’t even know is ahead. It’s amazing looking back at all of the times this has happened. In 2016 I had been thanking God every morning that he knew everything I would encounter in my day before I even woke up. I prayed this every morning for literally months and one night I had a brain aneurysm burst and I found myself in the ICU with a brain bleed. As I lay there stunned by the news of my condition I had an incredible peace over me because I knew in my heart that God knew it would happen before I did and he had prepared me for that moment. It didn’t change my circumstance, but it changed my response- which is usually the most important part. I went through a difficult season of recovery and a terrible feeling of isolation and darkness, but even then, the time I spent with God before that had prepared me. I re-read things that God had shown me because I had written them down. Those words were like healing medicine and I don’t say this to brag about my preparedness. It was God who prepared me, but like Peter and Cornelius, I had to be in a place ready to receive it. This reminds me of the importance of breathing in everything God shows me in my devotional time. Sometimes I’m in a hurry to get out the door but I know that what I read and what I get out of the reading is preparation. It might not be for today, but the day will come when I will need these words and as long as I keep listening it will be there when I, or someone else I encounter needs it.

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