Sunday, April 18, 2010


TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 9:1-19a

TO CHEW ON: “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem…’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go…’” Acts 9:13, 15a

While Peter’s restoration occurred during a quiet conversation with Jesus, Saul’s (later Paul) was a dramatic encounter. God knew that Saul’s zeal was rooted in the belief he was doing the right thing and what it would take to change his mind. When the light, the power and the voice of Jesus stopped him on the Damascus road, he converted in an instant.

In this story I sympathize with Ananias. Imagine being told to visit Christianity’s most vocal and influential opponent (to us Richard Dawkins,  say, or Sam Harris) . Even compliant Ananias raised objections…Lord, do You know who this man is and what he has authority to do? (verses 13-14). To Ananias’ credit, he went anyway, found the now blind, helpless, and hungry Saul and helped onto his feet the man who became the church’s most articulate champion.

Are you and I as quick to obey – even when obedience seems like non-sense? Oswald Chambers says about obedience:

“There is no moral virtue in obedience unless there is a recognition of a higher authority in the one who dictates…. a man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is a recognition of a holy God.

But woe be to me if when I see Him, I say I will not. He will never insist I do it but I have begun to sign the death warrant of the Son of God in my soul. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say – I will not, He will never insist; but I am backing away from the recreating power of His redemption.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 18th reading.

To whom or about what is God saying “Go” to us today? Will I? Will you?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for examples like Paul and Ananias who illustrate how the lives of people in Your kingdom interlock. Help me to cooperate with You in this by going whenever you say the word. Amen

MORE: Some modern Ananiases

Gladys Aylward, missionary to China said:

"I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China…I don't know who it was…It must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…And God said - "Well, she's willing."

Jackie Pullinger, missionary to Hong Kong:

At the age of 22 Jackie Pullinger, British subject and graduate of Royal College of Music specializing in the oboe, felt she was to be a missionary. But when all the missionary societies turned her down, she followed the advice of a pastor who told her, “go out and buy a ticket for a boat going on the longest journey you can find and pray to know where to get off.” She bought a ticket from France to Japan. When she got to Hong Kong she knew this was the place.

She tells her fascinating story in Chasing the Dragon (which I read some time ago and reviewed here.)

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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