Ananias of Damascus and Saul and the Lord Jesus Christ
Praise be the the Lord Jesus Christ who through his Prophet Ananias restored the sight of Saint Paul!
Now, Paul before he could become a saint and believer in Jesus Christ was also called Saul. And this Saul was one of the most dangerous persecutors of Christians especially those in Jerusalem and also played part in the murder of the first martyr Stephen. So much was the persecution that the Lord Jesus as mentioned in the Book of Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9 decided to intervene personally on behalf of the Church.
Saul was not just admonished by Jesus Christ but also lost his sight due to the glory of Christ that came as light from Heaven. Then when Saul decided to walk the humble path upon hearing the voice of Jesus, he was told go to Damascus.
The Lord Jesus then worked out healing in Saul through Ananias as per the below verses in the Book of Acts:
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Behold, I am here, Lord.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight. And look in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus. For behold, he prays.” 12 “And in a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hands on him, so that he might receive his sight.” 13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man; how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 “Moreover, here he has the authority of the chief priests to bind all that call on Your Name.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go. For he is a vessel chosen by Me to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel.16 “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.”
17 Then Ananias went, and entered that house, and put his hands on him, and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on the way as you came, has sent me, so that you might receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”18 And immediately something like ‘scales’ fell from his eyes. And suddenly he received sight, and arose, and was baptized, 19 and received food and was strengthened. So, Saul was with the Damascus disciples for some days.
A few lessons to learn from this:
- The Lord Jesus will bless those who follow his Word even those who are the worst of sinners that repent.
- Like Saul be ready to obey the Lord Jesus to move up to your higher calling in God.
- Like Ananias keep yourself ready in all prayer, so that when the time comes then you’re able to do great healings and good works towards those whom the Lord leads you to bring salvation and deliverance in their lives.
- If you have any doubts towards doing any good deed be humble enough to ask the Lord for his good counsel instead of rejecting doing good altogether.
- The Holy Spirit will work through you if surrender to Will of God.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— 2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:1-6)
O dear believers in Christ, please take heed as you walk for the Lord God. Remember that while you’re in the flesh, that our ways are not of the flesh but of the spirit. So do your warfare against the darkness and falsehood according to the Spirit of God rather than your fresh.
Make the Lord God your strength rather than depend on your flesh for victories. For the darkness of the world cannot prevail against the Lord Almighty. If you make God your strength you won’t fail in the fight against evil.
When fighting evil know this; the fight is about destroying strongholds and arguments and lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. For each disobedience will be punished in the afterlife and no one will escape Judgement Day except for those who repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You might be faced with hardships on account of your faith in Jesus, but do no despair. God will reward those who stand by his Word in time of hardships and temptation. Be willing to face the hardness of life with good preparation, because the Lord Jesus himself told us us to build on solid ground instead of of the sand in (Matthew 7:24-27)
Walk with Jesus Christ in your thoughts, words and deed as your meditate on the Word of God and keep winning your victories against the powers of darkness!
Verses for reflection:
- By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left (2 Corinthians 6:7)
- The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light (Romans 13:12)
- Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3)
- Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Being brave and smart to tackle danger (Part 2)
In my earlier post Being brave and smart to tackle danger (Part 1) we focused on knowing and asserting your rights. Today I want to show how to use the truth to your advantage, use your words wisely and keep your eyes open to tackle any attacks.
Let’s read Acts 23:1-11 which shows how the Apostle Paul at the Sanhedrin effectively used the above principles to keep himself out of danger:
1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” 4 Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
When in faced with danger, do not cower in fear. Be like Paul, who kept his eyes and mind open to use the situation to his advantage. He didn’t have to lie but took advantage of the truth. He tackled the high priest Ananias who illegally tried to get Paul slapped. Paul didn’t use foul words but used clear logic that the high priest was trying to judge as per the law and yet himself was going against the methods of the law. Only later when Paul was told that Ananias was the high priest that he didn’t go ahead with rebuking him any further.
But Ananias was not the only person to be stopped. There were more. Paul must have understood that if he didn’t act in time something really bad will happen to him. Again like I mentioned in my earlier post, Paul did suffer martyrdom but that day was not day to be martyred.
Since Paul himself was trained in the ways of the Pharisees he could easily distinguish between the Pharisees and their rivals the Sadducees. He sensed a great opportunity to set things right. So he said aloud, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” Due to great divide between the Pharisees and the Sadducees on the reality of the resurrection with the result that some of Pharisees spoke in Paul’s favor. (This is one of the good things of the Pharisees unlike the Sadducees who deny angels, spirits and resurrection who are therefore vile little heretics)
As a matter of fact, Paul was in trial because he claimed Jesus as the Lord and also that Jesus rose from the dead (this is a teaching central to the Christian faith and any deviation from this is heresy). So Paul did NOT lie his way out of trouble. With some of the Pharisees now agree that there was no fault with Paul, it gradually resulted in a violent clash between the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Roman tribune then intervened by getting the soldiers to save Paul from this fighting. And of course, the Lord appreciated Paul and told him the he will get to testify in Rome for Christ as how he did in Jerusalem.
Now learning from Paul’s case you can apply this too in your life. Suppose, someone is trying to draw a gun on you and you don’t have a weapon. Then scream and say loudly ‘please don’t hurt me with your gun, I did no wrong’. This will either alert the people nearby to save you or dissuade the attacker or even give you a small time window to escape.
Suppose you are stuck in a very bad lawsuit in which you are wrongly targeted and suddenly you realize that there is an organization which helps out those in trouble like you, then reach out to them. Like in cases of international business disputes, you know very well that if the other countries court’s are biased against your nation then they won’t give you a fair hearing, then get in what are known as arbitrators to give you some justice. If you are under racial attacks, first get yourself out of danger and then reach to organizations that tackle racism (Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti Defamation League, Newham Monitoring Project, National Assembly Against Racism (NAAR) or whichever similar organization in your region). Just keep your eyes and mind open for any such individuals or groups which help out people in trouble.
Imagine you are an Aussie citizen roaming in South Africa and due to whatever reason, you are being chased by gun wielding thugs. And if you happen to see the Australian embassy near you, then don’t be a hero to stand cornered to fight the minions of debauchery, you simply get into the embassy and save your life. I’m sure the Aussie guards will be a great deterrent to your assailants. This tip should work for any citizen with his/her own country’s embassy normally.
If you are troubled by demons, do not play coy with your preacher and behave as if you are in pristine condition. Open your mind and be humble enough to at least get help in private from your church elders and it’s people trained in deliverance ministry. All you need to do is speak and say that you need help.
Appeal unto Christ Jesus when in danger by evil spirits. Don’t be a victim. Christ has authority over all of the powers of the Evil One. Take advantage of this truth.
Christ be with you!
P.S : Part 3 of this will be out soon. Pray for me.