“Ananias”

February 24, 2017

Lancaster County Mennonite farm
We had a beautiful day yesterday and passed another of the many impressive farms seen throughout Lancaster County.

“Ananias”

Message summary: “Are there any scales that are blinding you or holding you back from following God wholeheartedly or giving your all in service to Him?” We do well to inventory our hearts, spend time in prayer speaking to God and also listening to what He has to say to us.

Note: Podcast message not prepared today due to early morning chaplain visits.

“In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered” (Acts 9:10).

Ananias is the man God called to minister to Saul (Paul) shortly after his miraculous conversion. He was initially quite reluctant yet he obeyed the Lord.  He had an essential role in welcoming Saul into the Christian fellowship.

Ananias is the first believer in Christ in whom we have information about his ministry to Saul.  (Remember that Saul was staying in the home of a man by the name of Judas.) In this early period of the church’s history the good news of Jesus Christ had already spread to Damascus, Syria, which was outside of the nation of Israel.  The Jews had earlier migrated to Damascus and established synagogues there. It is likely that Ananias was a Jew who had converted to Christ. The Lord spoke to him in a vision about Saul of Tarsus and he readily answered. Today as God’s children may we be ready to answer His call. He may or may not speak to us in a vision, but He is speaking.  We have the Word of God and he does desire to speak to us, so we are wise to be listening!

F. F. Bruce suggests that Ananias “has an honoured place in sacred history, and a special claim upon the gratitude of all who, in one way or another, have entered into the blessing that stems from the life and work of the great apostle.”

Today’s first verse describes a physical phenomenon at Saul’s conversion that surely has rich spiritual symbolism. He was blinded on the road to Damascus but when Ananias prayed for him, “Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight.” I believe Luke is speaking literally regarding these scales. But we also consider the scales that blind spiritually. C.H. Spurgeon, in his sermon, “Scales Taken From The Eyes” lists the scales of self, ignorance, prejudice, unbelief, habit and worldliness. We consider adding pride, and religious blindness. What are some scales you can identify that keep people from seeing the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”?

“A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well-spoken of by all the Jews who lived there came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him.  And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22).

Today we ask you, “Are there any scales that are blinding you or holding you back from following God wholeheartedly or giving your all in service to Him?” We do well to inventory our hearts, spend time in prayer speaking to God and also listening to what He has to say to us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, remove the scales of indifference, fear, skepticism, doubt, and unbelief along with any other unwanted attitudes or traits that would keep me from giving You my all. When the scales are removed I no longer see that which holds me back but I see Jesus who said, “….With God all things are possible.” When the scales are removed I find that Your power propels me into service, reaching out to the lost and showing the way to forgiveness and eternal life. Help me to have the courage of Ananias to reach out to those who seem hopeless, undeserving, and zealous in all the wrong ways like Saul. Just as Ananias had a tremendous role in mentoring the Tormentor Saul as he became the Preacher Paul, we too can make a difference in one’s life who is lost, hurting, and presently headed to eternity without You. Remove our scales and launch us forward in service to You, we pray. Amen.

Note: There are two other Bible characters named Ananias in the Bible, also found exclusively in the Book of Acts 5 (Ananias and Saphhira and 23 (a high priest)


Gideon Bible distribution
While visiting the housekeepers and staff at Comfort Inn in New Holland, during our chaplaincy visits today, we kept “bumping” into these men. Anyone venture a guess as to why they were there? See below for answer.

Ressler family home
The Ressler family home at the Mascot Roller Mill historical site on Stumptown Road.

Conestoga buggy
A Conestoga Amish buggy! Ironically the original Conestoga wagons were built near where this photo was taken at the headwaters of the Conestoga River.
The middle “pole” isn’t for fishing but our van antenna.

Shady Maple mural
Mural at Shady Maple


Photo of three men:  The men pictured at Comfort Inn were Gideons restocking Bibles in the guest rooms. We were so happy to see them and them know how much we appreciated their dedication in supplying Bibles. Many, many stories have been told of people who found Christ after picking up a Gideon’s Bible, often in a motel room; some even contemplating suicide and then they pick up the Bible and start reading which leads to changed lives.

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