To prepare means to make ready for a specific future purpose; to set up; to assemble. Preparation is therefore an act of preparing or getting ready for an event or something very important. On the other hand, the word expect means to look for (mentally); to look forward to, as to something that is believed to be about to happen or come; to have a previous apprehension of, whether of good or evil; to look for with some confidence; to anticipate. Expectation is defined as the act or state of expecting or looking forward to an event as about to happen
Act 10:1-6 KJV 1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are to come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
Cornellius had a vision where an angel of God appeared unto him and directed him to send to Joppa and bring Peter to come and tell him what to do. Remember Cornelius had been praying and fasting.
Even though Cornelius had a good reputation and testimonies yet he was unsaved. Even though he gave alms to the poor and offered prayers while fasting, he still needed salvation.
There are many good people around us who trust in their goodness, sincerity, religious observation and their kindness to fellow mankind. The fact is that they are not saved. If they die in that condition, they will go to hell. Good work does not and is not an alternative to salvation. A man’s good work will not save him. Some people will say that man lived a good life, he was alway giving to the poor, he opened an orphanage, a philanthropist, how can God send such a person to hell? The fact is our good work is not a substitute for believing in the only means offered for the salvation of mankind.
Act 4:12 KJV Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Paul also said that we were saved not by the good works which we have done.
Tit 3:5 KJV Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Paul actually encourages good works:
1Ti 2:10 KJV But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1Ti 6:18 KJV That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
2Ti 3:17 KJV That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Tit 2:7 KJV In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Tit 3:14 KJV And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
We are saved to do and abound in good works but good works cannot save us.
When that young rich ruler came to Jesus and asked Him what good thing he needed to do to be saved? Jesus told him to sell all that he had and then come and follow him.
Mat 19:16 KJV And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
The rich guy was trusting in his goodness, righteousness and obedience to the laws of Moses which was a good thing that Jesus acknowledged but the Lord had a shocker for him to really tell that he had not fully obeyed the law. Jesus brought him to the same level for all mankind. We all need a saviour.
Mat 19:21 KJV Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
The Bible says he went away sad. The Mammon of this world still had dominion over him. His good works cannot save him.
The angel told Cornelius that his almsgiving and prayer had been accepted by God and that it had come for a memorial before God. The word “memorial” in Greek is “mnēmosunon” and it means a memorial (that by which the memory of any person or thing is preserved), a remembrance, a record, a memorandum and a reminder. In other words, all the good acts of Cornelius were preserved and recorded against him. Besides that they served as objects of remembrance by which his matter is brought unto the attention of God. Every good work we do, especially for the poor people and for the kingdom, is not a waste. They are recorded and kept for us. A book of remembrance is opened where all the good works of mankind are kept.
Rev 20:12 KJV And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
When you gave your tithe, gave alms to the less privileged, paid people school fees, etc, they were all recorded against your name and we shall be rewarded based on what we did in the body. 2Cor 5:10
One lesson we need to learn is to add almsgiving to our fasting. Of course we do pray but we need to also incorporate it into our fasting period. The Lord did mention both when He was teaching about prayers in the sermon on the mount message.
Mat 6:2-5 KJV 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Luk 11:41 KJV But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
The book of Isaiah had much to say about fasting and almsgiving when people were wondering why their prayers and fasting were not answered by God. Isaiah told them what they ought to be doing during the period of fasting:
Isa 58:6-7 KJV 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
The angel told Cornelius to send men to Joppa and called Simon Peter to come and tell him what he ought to do. What stopped the angel from directly telling Cornelius what he should do? Remember that when Saul asked the Lord what he wanted Him to do, the Lord directed him to a disciple named Ananias who would tell him what to do. The angel that met Philip directed Philip to go and talk to the Eunuch in Act 8. Why didn’t the angel talk directly to the Ethiopian eunuch by himself?
The fact is that the great commission has been committed to Mt 28. The Lord Jesus said we should go into the whole world and preach the gospel. The angels are not assigned that role and so they can not preach. The Lord Himself will not usurp the responsibility He had given unto us. That is why in all the post resurrection cases, humans were directed to minister to fellow men.
The Lord knows us more than we know ourselves. He knows our habitations. He gave the right address of Simon the tanner who was hosting Peter. It was the same way the Lord gave the address of Ananias to Saul so that his companion could take him there. The Lord knows your residence and can send destiny helpers to the place.
Cornelius was a gentile soldier but he had been observing some jewish practices such as daily prayers. Actually it was during the hour of prayer that the angel appeared unto him. What could be the prayer points of Cornelius? The angel said his prayers had been answered. How could God answer the prayer of an unbeliever when the book of Prov says the prayer or sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination unto God, Prov 15:8?
I believe there was only one singular prayer though it might have been prayed in different ways and manners. When Cornelius was telling Peter about the vision, he said “prayer” which was singular as opposed to “prayers” in verse 3-4. Cornelius had been praying for more understanding about the WAY of the Lord and how to be saved. The only prayer that God answers from an unbeliever is the prayer of salvation. The bible says God is not willing that anyone should perish but should come to the knowledge of salvation. Cornelius had been seeking the knowledge and his expectation was answered when the angel appeared unto him.
God will meet you at the point of searching. He said in the book of Jeremiah that people will find Him when they seek Him with their whole heart. He sought God and God answered him.
Jer 29:13 KJV And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Cornelius sent a messenger to Joppa meanwhile God was already working on Peter by showing a trance. In trance, the person’s mind is suspended and he sees into the spirit realm things that the mind cannot decipher. Although he is awake, his mind is drawn off from all surrounding objects and wholly fixed on things divine that he sees nothing but the forms and images lying within, and thinks that he perceives with his bodily eyes and ears realities shown him by God.
Peter was fasting too and praying and while getting ready to break his fast, a trance was shown unto him. Temptation and visions do come on the premise of what we are so much focused on. While the Lord was in the wilderness having fasted for forty days, he was hungry and the devil came tempting Him with what He desired so much at the time which was food. Satan uses our most incline desire to tempt us. In the same light, God uses our incline desire to give us revelation. or how do you explain that while Peter was hungry and food was being prepared, he had a vision that would affect the destiny of Christianity forever.
In the vision there were sheets that descended and God spoke unto Peter to kill and eat. Peter objected that he had never partake in eating such animals which were unclean and had been forbidden by the law of Moses.
Act 10:11-16 KJV 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
What message was God passing across to Peter? It was while he was enumerating on the vision that the man sent by Cornelius arrived. Now when they arrived, they could not enter the house but stood outside to call out for Peter, why? We will soon see the reason that was still tied to the vision. The Holy Spirit told Peter that he should go with those men because He sent them.
The vision is becoming clearer to Peter. He was to go to a Gentile! The Jews had a custom that did not permit them to have any dealings with gentile nations. One reason the men from Cornelius could not enter into Peter’s house right away. When Peter went with them and they got to Cornelius’s house, he told them that it was forbidden for a Jew to come into the house of a gentile but because God sent him, he had to obey.
Act 10:28 KJV And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Actually there was no special provision in the law of Moses that expressly forbade Jews from associating or entering into Gentile house, but the tradition was borne out of separation of Jews from other nations based on their laws and ordinances that forbids the Jews from doing certain things that Gentiles can freely do. Besides entering into covenants and marriages with them, which were forbidden by the law, though they allowed of trade and commerce with the Gentiles, yet not any familiar conversation with them; it was prohibited to eat and drink any sort of liquor with them in their houses
Here is a good point to note. While Peter was on the way, Cornelius had gathered all his Relatives, acquaintances and friends together waiting for Peter.
Act 10:24 KJV And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
Act 10:33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
The people were all waiting for the preacher, and every heart was filled with expectation; they waited as before God, from whose messenger they were about to hear the words of life. Cornelius did not wait for Peter to arrive first before making arrangements to bring his people but they were already waiting for him. In this account there was both physical preparation and heart preparation.
This is a mark of greatest faith for an unbeliever. As at that time, there was no GSM to call Cornelius when his men were at Joppa to tell him that they had been able to get Peter and that he was coming with them. And yet Cornelius had gathered his people together. What if Peter had remained adamant in his Jewish prejudice and scruples against gentiles and decided not to come? But Cornelius was a man of unwavering faith.
What was the consequence of the preparation and expectation?
The Bible gave us the answer.
Act 10:44-48 KJV 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The message of salvation was preached unto them and while Peter was speaking to them, the Holy Ghost confirmed the word by “falling” on all them that heard the word. They spoke with a new tongue and glorified God. In response to what the Holy Spirit has done, Peter asked them to be baptised. This is nothing but a miracle but not a surprising one because wherever preparation and expectation meets the anointing, what you have is this kind of result.
Prophet Isaiah gave Zion the same admonition that Zion should prepare for the increase that is coming and not wait till it has come before making arrangements.
Isa 54:2-3 KJV 2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
They were to enlarge the tent and stretch the curtain while anticipating the increase that was coming.
What are you expecting from the Lord? One of the best ways to show that you have faith that you will receive it is to make physical, mental and spiritual preparation for it.
When a farmer prepares his farm and plants the seeds in them, he waits patiently for the growth of the plantations and consequence harvest that will come.
If you want to get married, why don’t you start preparation by buying some wedding materials, fix dates, book down reception venues, seek out and plan for the events even though the man you want to marry has not proposed yet. That is faith and it is an uncommon faith. Anybody and everyone will prepare for marriage once the man has proposed.
A woman who believes for the fruit of the womb will go to the market and buy baby materials like cot, napkins, bathing utensils and many other things a baby needs even though there is no pregnancy yet. This is faith and it is uncommon. The norm is that when the Doctor diagnoses you as pregnant and then you start making preparations for the unborn baby. You have not done anything special. Unbelievers will do the same. It is expected that you buy baby materials after all, the Doctor has said you are pregnant.
Someone looking for a job ought to demonstrate his preparation and expectation by going to the market and getting a shirt, trouser and tie that he will wear to the next interview. He will keep them and is expecting advertisements that he will apply for because he believes that will be his breakthrough. That is an uncommon faith. A lady should do the same by preparing for the upcoming job interview coming even though she has not been invited at all.
If you believe that your prayer has been answered, then act as if it is done by talking, acting and behaving as a possessor of that miracle. This is the way to activate your faith.