Acts Devotionals

For the Cause

There are times when God brings someone or something across your pathway for a season or even for a few hours. Then this someone or something passes never to return again. Often this person or experience is to help us pray more, serve better or experience the power of God’s help in a way that few would be able to understand. You’ll recall I spoke of money that was “nowhere” yesterday. I made a transfer after drawing cash, my account was closed and soon thereafter the money was “nowhere”. Naturally, I was concerned, and together with a few people assisting me in prayer, I returned to the bank today.

The consultant who helped me yesterday listened to my story and then said … “You will have to wait for 48 hours to see where the money is.” To this I replied saying I would not be leaving her desk until the matter was resolved as I did not have 48 hours (working hours for the bank) as I leave for Pretoria on Monday and that would only constitute one and a half working days. She worked frantically and after one hour 20 minutes said that I can do other business and return by 12pm. What had actually happened was that she closed the account too soon. The transfer was still working when the account was closed, that is why the transaction failed and because the account was closed I could not redo the transaction … and in any event, the money went into a suspense account.

I called my financial advisor at 12.30pm. She checked my account and the money was not there. Then whilst we were talking the money came through. The account ought to have been closed two hours after the transaction took place. The bank consultant learnt a lesson and I was so relieved that the money was restored to me!

Saul was blinded and clueless as to what would be happening to him. Remember the Lord Jesus only gave him limited information. More would be provided in Damascus. He was led there and remained in prayer and fasting for three days. During this period he would have reviewed his persecution of the Lord Jesus and His Church as well as the role he would be playing into the future for the Church he was bent on destroying! Please read the following passage:

Ac 9:10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

1) The Lord Jesus called one of His disciples named Ananias to minister to Saul. He seems to be a citizen of Damascus. Immediately Jesus called him in a vision he responded as Abraham, Jacob, Moses Samuel and Isaiah had in the past … “Yes Lord.” After this, Jesus’ instructions followed. Go to Judas’ house on Straight Street. We do not know who this Judas was. We do know the street as it is still there today. It is the main street called Sultany, running from the east to the west gate of the city for just under two kilometers. It is 30.5 meters wide with colonnades and arches. Ananias needed to go to this house because Saul was there praying. It is wonderful as an example that when we wait … we need to wait in prayer!

2) Jesus tells Ananias that Saul has had a vision of a man coming and laying hands on him restoring his sight. In other words, Jesus was sending Ananias to restore Saul’s sight! Like I had money and then I did not have money and then it was restored … Saul has sight and then did not have sight and through Ananias his sight would be restored.

3) Ananias was apprehensive! He speaks to the Lord acknowledging his knowledge of Saul as well as the damage he has done to the Church in Jerusalem … adding that Saul is in Damascus, operating under the authority of the chief priest to arrest all who “call on Your name.” It’s like Ananias is saying to Jesus … “Lord, are You unaware of what this man has been doing and is capable of doing to damage Your Church?” Sometimes we are apprehensive and cautious about people who were opponents of the Church, now converted and amongst us. Do we trust them, welcome them and make them one of us?

4) In Jesus’ response we suddenly see the purpose of Saul’s future ministry for Jesus.

(1) He is God’s chosen instrument to reach Gentiles, kings and Israelites with the Gospel. As we dig further into Acts we shall see these three “ministries” come true.

(2) Saul might have caused great harm and suffering to the Church … yet he too will suffer much for the name of Jesus … and he did:

2 Cor 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

We shall get to the restoration of his sight tomorrow … but consider this … the work of God does not exclude hardship and suffering. You are at war. Your enemy is the devil. He is angered because you seek to turn his servants to Jesus, the Gospel and salvation. Know that you will suffer but know it is suffering because you want people in heaven and not hell. You willingly endure hardship for your Master, the Lord Jesus.

Thank You Lord Jesus for the privilege of serving You and Your Cause for eternity. Amen.

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