Ananias & Sapphira
Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:4
About the only incident of someone being slain in the Spirit is found right here in Acts chapter 5 and it ain’t pretty. The new church has experienced amazing power, amazing grace and now, amazing housecleaning. The believers are excited, blessed, sharing all things freely and joyously, and now this. Imagine the soberness that ensued at the news of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s deaths! A healthy fear and undoubtedly some adjustment of attitudes resulted. All because someone wanted to look as good, as spiritual, as generous, as committed to Christ as the next guy- and died trying. It’s enough to sober me up fast! Do I appear to give more, be more, do more, than the books in heaven record? Then I’m in danger of exiting the church in a most embarassing way: “Wow! She was fine a minute ago! Here, you grab her feet, we’ll get her arms.” Lookin’ good ends up lookin’ really bad. But that’s the whole problem-it’s not about appearances, God looks on the heart. That should be enough to make us squirm. And, hopefully, change.
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10,11
John and I were white-water rafting. Actually, I was white-knuckle rafting. Being directionally challenged, I’d hear “paddle left!” and vigorously paddle right. Consequently, I ended up in the water, watching John’s raft sail by. I panicked as my lifeline floated from view. (I didn’t know that in order to pick me up, the raft had to get ahead of me.)“Wait! Come back! What am I supposed to do?” I imagine the disciples felt the same way as they watched Jesus ascend into heaven. “Don’t leave us! What are we supposed to do?” Just as I had to forget the raft and focus on the things I’d been told -i.e. stop gulping water, put my feet in front of me, and move to the shore, the disciples had to stop staring into space and follow the next instructions.
Lord, we’re easily consumed by what isn’t, and neglect what is. Please help us with that.
There’s no more dismal prison than the gray walls of self-absorption, the cold floor of complacency, and the clanging steel of a complaining, ungrateful heart. I delude myself, thinking I’m trapped by circumstances when really, it’s my own soul that traps me. I was made for freedom- freedom from the depression and boredom that comes with living for self. I was made to love God and be loved by Him; to thank Him; to bring His beauty in whatever circumstances I find myself- practically speaking- to make a bed, to pick up someone else’s dishes, to bring order and love. To do it for Him and in Him. I’m cleaning His house, I’m working for Him.
Ps 142:7 “Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, For You will deal bountifully with me.
“Lord, deliver me from the evil of selfish living. I choose this day to serve You.”
This morning I fixed Jesus an egg and cheese bagel for breakfast, packed some chicken enchiladas for His lunch, picked Him up from His apartment and took Him to fill out forms for His new job training at Holiday Inn Express (He was a little too nervous to go by Himself). “…I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Mt. 25:40