Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breath-taking.

The Lord, in all His great sovereignty never ceases to amaze me on a very personal level. He never fails to teach me when I ask for knowledge. He is always faithful to humble me when I seek to be more like Him. As Dr. Piper put it, God uses us and our circumstances to make much of Himself. Isnt that the business that God is in? Making much of Himself? And isnt that the only thing we can expect from the Creator of the Universe?

But are we so lost in the shuffle of life that we've lost sight of the miraculous fact that Creator God wants to use us to bring Him glory? That He wants to call our name?

In Acts 9, we learn of a man named Ananias. Sure, the big story, the awe-inspiring story from this chapter is that of Saul's conversion. If there's anyone who can ever say "God doesnt want me, because I've done bad things," then Acts 8 & 9 should be their proof that God can use anyone to accomplish His purposes. Even more than that, who would have ever anticipated that evil Saul would be transformed into Paul who found joy in his imprisonment and won nations over to Christ in his writings. As Louie Giglio put it last week, Saul experienced a 180 degree change in his life's trajectory. Saul was at one time persecuting and imprisoning Christians. He stood by and watched as Stephen was stoned to death- he in fact approved the execution! Fast forward 30 years and Paul can be found in prison stating "To live is Christ, to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21). What a miraculous and God-glorifying change that would have such a massive worldwide impact. Can you even begin to understand the measure of what God has done in this one circumstance?

Getting back to Ananias- he played a crucial role in this story as well.

"In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, 'Ananias!' 'Yes, Lord,' he answered." (v. 10)

Two things here: First off, lets get obvious. The God of the universe called Ananias by name. The Creator of all things called. out. to. him. We know this, because in the Bible, it's in red letters. Red letters = words of Christ. How cool would it be to see your name in red letters? God still calls to His people. He called to Ananias to be apart of His plan. This leads to #2 which is that Ananias says YES. Not "maybe" or "hold on" or "I dont know" or "let me pray about it". Just yes. He didnt know what God was calling him to, but was willing to go with it and said "Yes."

How much could we accomplish for the Kingdom of God if we were both (1) Listening for and anticipating God's call and (2) willing to say yes no matter the cost? What if we said yes? Not "maybe" or "hold on" or "I dont know" or (the ubiquitous church blow-off) "let me pray about it."

Now Ananias shortly learns that God was sending him to Saul. (The evil persecutor Saul) Nobody knew at the time that God had already visited Saul on the road to Damascus, so understandably, Ananias was fearful of his mission. Despite this (and with considerable encouragement from the Lord in the next few verses), he never backed down on his "Yes."

Fast forward: Ananias meets Saul and restores his sight. Paul later speaks of Ananias: "a devout man according to the law; well spoken of by all the jews who lived there, came to me and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight... The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.'" (Acts 22:12-15)

1 comment:

Gail @ Sophisticated Steps said...

This reminds me of something my Dad said in our Bible Study class this morning (he teaches it). You cannot say "No" and "Lord" in the same sentence (as in "No, Lord".) If He is truly Lord of our lives, we won't and can't say "No".

Thank you for this deep reminder.

I love how a blog can be used for sharing God's message and reaching others. I often do the same with mine. :)

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