“Chosen Instrument” ( Acts 9: 1: HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Would you pick Saul from among the Pharisees to be one of your very best friends? Would you pick him to represent you to people who don’t know you; who may not even want to know you? I doubt I would, given a choice. I’d probably pick someone who actually likes me to represent me to people who don’t know me, or who, if they did know me, probably wouldn’t like me.

But Jesus does pick Saul. Even as “Saul is still breathing threats and murder against the disciples,” Jesus appears as a flash of light from heaven; this light is so intense, Saul falls to the ground. He hears Jesus ask, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4)

Saul wants to know who is speaking from the light. The voice says, “I Am Jesus, the One you are persecuting.” Then He tells Saul to go into the city. “And you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6) Saul obeys. Despite being blinded, he allows his men to lead him to Damascus. He remains blind and does not eat or drink for three days.

The Lord prepares for Saul’s coming; He appears in a vision to Ananias, telling him to travel to the street called “Straight” to the house of Judas where he will find a man from Tarsus who is called Saul. Ananias protests briefly as he’s heard “how much harm [Saul] has done to [God’s] saints in Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:13)

The Lord proclaims, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My Name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name!” (Acts 9:15-16)

The Lord is not punishing Saul for the persecutions, threats, murders performed as a Pharisee. Rather, He is confirming that in serving the Lord, Saul will suffer.

Ananias explains this to Saul. He tells him that he is to regain his sight and “be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17) Immediately Saul’s sight returns. “Then he gets up and is baptized.” (Acts 9:18)

Saul knows there’s no reason to delay. “Immediately he begins proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: ‘He is the Son of God.'” (Acts 9:20) In no time at all, the Jews are conspiring to kill him.

Yet when Saul goes to Jerusalem and “tries to associate with the disciples, they are afraid of him, since they do not believe he is a disciple.” (Acts 9:26)

Likely the disciples in Jerusalem are bewildered that Jesus has given this Pharisee such authority to preach the gospel. Does this man, who has done such evil deeds against Christians, really have the Holy Spirit? How is that possible? Why would God choose him?

Again, a case of judging by appearances — something with which most of us are familiar. On the other hand, Jesus knows everything about Saul. He knows things about Saul no one else can possibly know. And, Jesus calls Saul “My chosen instrument.”

Reposting “Always A Consequence”


“Always A Consequence” ( Acts 5: 1-10, NIV ) by Carley Evans

Familiar with the expression ‘I’m my own worst enemy’? God does not punish us when we fall into a sin — that punishment fell upon Jesus as He suffered and died on a cross. But, though God forgives and forgets our sin, a consequence always follows. Some consequences are relatively minor; others are devastating.

Ananias and Sapphira, when learning that Joseph — you know, Barnabas — has sold his field and given all the monies to the disciples to help the needy among the brothers and sisters in the Lord, decide to do the same. However, rather than tell the truth, they lie. They pretend they are giving the whole amount gained from selling their piece of property. When confronted by Peter, Ananias falls down and dies. Later, Sapphira is given the opportunity to ‘come clean’ so to speak. But, she lies — telling Peter that the monies given represent the entire price of the property. Peter tells her bluntly she is going to die. And she does.

Seems like punishment, doesn’t it?

But, I maintain it is not. Rather, their deaths are consequences. For all we know, Ananias had a heart attack and Sapphira a stroke upon being confronted with such a public shame. Imagine it: the entire church body is “sharing everything.” (Acts 4:32) And, “there are no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:34) Barnabas generously shares all he has gained from selling his field. Ananias and Sapphira are jealous — they want the attention and acclaim Barnabas obviously receives.

This couple lies to God, the Holy Spirit. As Peter says, “How can you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look!” (Acts 5:9)

Public shame and their unforgiving spirits — yes, their unwillingness to ask for and receive forgiveness — these kill Ananias and Sapphira.

I repost because this particular note is important to me — it’s a key concept in our walk with the Lord. Please indulge me. Thank you; and God bless.

“Always A Consequence” ( Acts 5: 1 – 10, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Familiar with the expression ‘I’m my own worst enemy’? God does not punish us when we fall into a sin — that punishment fell upon Jesus as He suffered and died on a cross. But, though God forgives and forgets our sin, a consequence always follows. Some consequences are relatively minor; others are devastating.

Ananias and Sapphira, when learning that Joseph — you know, Barnabas — has sold his field and given all the monies to the disciples to help the needy among the brothers and sisters in the Lord, decide to do the same. However, rather than tell the truth, they lie. They pretend they are giving the whole amount gained from selling their piece of property. When confronted by Peter, Ananias falls down and dies. Later, Sapphira is given the opportunity to ‘come clean’ so to speak. But, she lies — telling Peter that the monies given represent the entire price of the property. Peter tells her bluntly she is going to die. And she does.

Seems like punishment, doesn’t it?

But, I maintain it is not. Rather, their deaths are consequences. For all we know, Ananias had a heart attack and Sapphira a stroke upon being confronted with such a public shame. Imagine it: the entire church body is “sharing everything.” (Acts 4:32) And, “there are no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:34) Barnabas generously shares all he has gained from selling his field. Ananias and Sapphira are jealous — they want the attention and acclaim Barnabas obviously receives.

This couple lies to God, the Holy Spirit. As Peter says, “How can you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look!” (Acts 5:9)

Public shame, pride, and their unforgiving spirits — yes, their unwillingness to ask for and receive forgiveness — these kill Ananias and Sapphira.

“And Now, Why Do You Wait?” (Acts 22: 16, ESV) by Carley Evans


Saul is struck blind on the road to Damascus by the Holy Spirit, who appears as “a great light from heaven.” (Acts 22: 6) He is called out by God — challenged to explain why he is persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus commands Saul to go into Damascus. “There you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.” (Acts 22: 10)

Saul obeys. In Damascus, Saul is greeted by Ananias who commands, “Receive your sight.” (Acts 22: 13) Not only this, but Ananias tells Saul that he will be privileged to hear the voice of God, to know His righteous will, to see the Righteous One, and to be a witness for Him to everyone! (Acts 22: 14, 15)

In the light of all this, Ananias asks, “And now, why do you wait?”

Once we hear and believe, why do we wait? The next step is to “rise and be baptized and wash away [our] sins, calling on His Name.” (Acts 22: 16)

Peter preaches to the men of Judea at Pentecost, and “when they heard… they were cut to the heart.” (Acts 2: 37) They cry out, “Brother, what shall we do?” (Acts 2: 37) Peter tells them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2: 38 – 39)

God calls you to repentance; He commands you to be baptized and to receive the Holy Spirit. And now, why do you wait?