Tag: Ananias

From persecutor to preacher!

Scripture reading for May 18th:  Acts 9

After the stoning of Stephen, Saul began to destroy the church!  (Acts 8:3)  He rounded up believers and had them imprisoned and heartily felt he was doing God a favor by keeping Judaism free from their false teaching about Jesus!  He obtained letters from the High Priest authorizing him to take prisoners of any believers found in the synagogues of Damascus.  However, on the way there, he met Jesus Christ personally!

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”  “Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, He replied.”  (Acts 9:3-5)  The same Jesus who appeared standing at the Father’s right hand to receive Stephen into glory now responded to Stephen’s prayer, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60)  Saul had been there holding the coats of those stoning him!  Saul got up and found he could not see and those with him lead him into Damascus where he waited three days and nights without food or drink!

The Lord spoke to Saul in a dream about a man coming to lay hands on him.  The Lord also spoke to the man, Ananias, instructions to go to Saul.  Ananias questioned the Lord, concerned about Saul’s murderous intent, which was well known to the believers in Damascus.  Jesus simply said, “Go!  This man is My chosen instrument to carry My Name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”  (Acts 9:15)   Ananias laid hands on Saul and his sight was restored and he began to preach Jesus as the Christ!  What a difference an encounter with Jesus can make!  Have you received Him?

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It’s dangerous to lie to God!

Scripture reading for November 7th: Acts 5-7

Lying is a sin!  One of the ten commandments states that we should not give a false accusation against a neighbor! (Exodus 20:16)   God hates a lying tongue! (Proverbs 6:17-19)  Lying breaks relationships, marriages, homes, and even churches!  A lying tongue hates the one it hurts!  (Proverbs 26:28)  A false witness will not go unpunished and he who pours out lies will perish! (Proverbs 19:9)  The devil is a liar and can speak only one language: “LIE!” (John 8:44)

The Book of Acts records the history of the early church from just before the day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul in Rome.  Very early in the history of the new church, Luke writes to tell us the story of a couple who told a lie that cost them their life.  Acts 5:1-16.

Ananias and Sapphira told a lie of omission.  They sold some of their property and made an offering to the Apostles for the use of the church.  The price of the property was more than what they gave, but they told the Apostles that they gave all the money to the Lord when they had kept some back for themselves.  Now it wasn’t wrong not to give it all.  It was wrong to lie about what they had given.

“Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied to men, but to God.””  “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what happened.” (Acts 5:3-5)

Ananias and his wife died immediately as a result of lying!  This New Testament story warns God’s people that dealing with God is serious business!  Amazingly, the church grew and many souls were added after this judgment!  God is building a holy church without spot or wrinkle!  The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Truth!

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A deadly lie!

Scripture reading for June 7th: Acts 5:1-42

We tend to think of the Holy Spirit as gentle and always bringing joy, healing, or miracles, but He has another side.  Just as God is a God of love and miracles, but also a God of justice and anger at sin, so the Holy Spirit reflects this variety as well.  In today’s reading, a couple in the early church experienced the anger of God for a simple lie!

Ananias and Sapphira were part of Peter’s congregation in Jerusalem.  They sold some property and kept back some of the proceeds for themselves before taking the rest and laying it at the apostles’ feet.  They evidently represented that they were giving all the proceeds to the Lord’s work to appear more spiritual.  But God knows everything and Peter had a word of knowledge. “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)

Ananias heard this word and fell over dead, causing great fear in the church.  Some young men came and carried him out and buried him.  About three hours later his wife came in and Peter questioned her about the price of the land and their donation.  She repeated the lie of her husband and her death also came quickly.  “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” (Acts 5:11)

One would think that this kind of happening in the church would cause the church to stop growing, but the opposite happened.  Great signs and wonders were being done by the apostles.  More and more men and women believed in the Lord Jesus and many sick were healed and evil spirits cast out.  (Acts 5:12-16)  Purity in the church produced miraculous manifestations that drew people to trust in Christ.  True christianity brings real power and conviction!

Do you think that God still works to bring purity to His church?  How are you doing in dealing with your money and offerings?  Why not repent today if you need to!  God would rather show mercy than judge!

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From Saul to Paul!

Scripture reading for June 13th:  Acts 9:1-25

What was you conversion like?  I remember going to an altar at the little Methodist church on a Thursday night youth meeting in response to the Gospel.  I heard the message and knew I needed to make a commitment.  I remember the feeling of change and the excitement of knowing sins forgiven.  We should all think back and remember our time of change!  God saw fit to record the change in one of His servants, Saul, that we read about today.

Saul was a Pharisee, zealous for the Jewish tradition.  He saw in the Christians a threat to His traditions and became very zealous to rid the world of them.  To his way of thinking, these people needed to be eliminated.  He went to the high priest and got letters authorizing him to arrest any of this sect he called ‘the Way’.  (Acts 9:1-2)

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute Me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied.  “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:3-6)   Saul was confronted by Jesus, Himself as he went to round up more Christians.  Jesus told him who He was and that his actions were against Him!  The revelation of Jesus was in a bright light that flashed like lightning around Saul.  When he got up to go, he was blind and those with him had to lead him into the city by the hand, where Saul prayed and fasted for three days.

In Damascus, another disciple named Ananias was given a vision of the Lord.  As he responded, the Lord told him to go to the house where Saul was praying and lay hands on him to restore his sight.  Ananias told the Lord his concerns, but he was reassured and sent to Saul. “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.” (Acts 9:15-16)  Saul’s sight was restored and he was filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized in water.  The miraculous conversion would change the world!

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A deadly lie!

Scripture reading for June 7th: Acts 5:1-42

We tend to think of the Holy Spirit as gentle and always bringing joy, healing, or miracles, but He has another side.  Just as God is a God of love and miracles, but also a God of justice and anger at sin, so the Holy Spirit reflects this variety as well.  In today’s reading, a couple in the early church experienced the anger of God for a simple lie!

Ananias and Sapphira were part of Peter’s congregation in Jerusalem.  They sold some property and kept back some of the proceeds for themselves before taking the rest and laying it at the apostles’ feet.  They evidently represented that they were giving all the proceeds to the Lord’s work to appear more spiritual.  But God knows everything and Peter had a word of knowledge. “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)

Ananias heard this word and fell over dead, causing great fear in the church.  Some young men came and carried him out and buried him.  About three hours later his wife came in and Peter questioned her about the price of the land and their donation.  She repeated the lie of her husband and her death also came quickly.  “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heart about these events.” (Acts 5:11)

One would think that this kind of happening in the church would cause the church to stop growing, but the opposite happened.  Great signs and wonders were being done by the apostles.  More and more men and women believed in the Lord Jesus and many sick were healed and evil spirits cast out.  (Acts 5:12-16)  Purity in the church produced miraculous manifestations that drew people to trust in Christ.  True Christianity brings real power and conviction!

Do you think that God still works to bring purity to His church?  How are you doing in dealing with your money and offerings?  Why not repent today if you need to!  God would rather show mercy than judge!

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