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Summary: Have you ever struggled to go out of your way to help people who are considered to be suspicious fellows? Imagine the hesitancy of Ananias when the Lord told him to render assistance to the murdering Saul of Tarsus.

Illustration:A poor workman always finds fault with his tools.

Bits & Pieces, May 1990, p. 10.

Illustration:Ten Most Used Excuses:

1. I forgot.

2. No one told me to go ahead.

3. I didn’t think it was that important.

4. Wait until the boss comes back and ask him.

5. I didn’t know you were in a hurry for it.

6. That’s the way we’ve always done it.

7. That’s not in my department.

8. How was I to know this was different?

9. I’m waiting for an O.K.

10. That’s his job--not mine.

Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p. 18.

1. Have you ever struggled to go out of your way to help people who are considered to be suspicious fellows?

Imagine the hesitancy of Ananias when the Lord told him to render assistance to the murdering Saul of Tarsus.

Most of us are so mistrustful of those we do not know we would do anything to avoid a dangerous man like Saul. Yet, the Lord found in Ananias a man who was willing to overcome his feelings of suspicion by obeying God’s voice rather than his fears. God used Ananias to nurture, serve and help Paul regain his sight.

Some our greatest accomplishments come as a result of just being available for God to work wonders through an obedient servant.

Ask God to help you be willing to be used of God as you take advantage of every opportunity.

2. Ananias knew how to put away suspicious feelings because He knew God was greater than any abusive person. There are many people who have suffered from an abusive individual.

In Ananias, God found a man who was willing to set aside his feelings of anger, fear or animosity toward Paul by choosing to respond to His command.

The best way to overcome feelings of fear, anger or bitterness is to replace them with a loving obedience to what the Lord is telling you to do.

Ask the Lord to help you replace any feelings of fear, anger or resentment with a determination to obey God in all things.

3. Ananias knew how to obey what Jesus said, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." (Matt. 6:9-13)

To forgive someone means that you are willing to give up resentment or the desire to punish someone for an offense. Here was a man who wanted others to realize that as Christ forgave him, so he felt obliged to forgive Saul.

It is only when we fully appreciate the magnitude of Christ’s forgiveness that we can grow in our desire to forgive others.

Ask the Lord to help you to fully understand and obey Christ’s admonition to forgive as we have been forgiven.

4. Ananias begins his relationship with Saul by saying, "Welcome brother Saul!" Immediately, this humble man welcomes Saul as a brother in the family of Christ. Learn to put spiritual criteria before ethnic, family or personal inclinations in learning to relate to other members of the body of Christ.

Ask the Lord to help you to relate to people more on the basis of their spiritual qualifications than ethnic, class or social considerations.

5. Ananias loved his enemies and did good to one who despitefully abused Christians. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile toward one another. Only through an obedient love, that comes from a Spirit filled life, can this be accomplished. Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return and your reward will be great." (Luke 6:35)

Ask the Lord to help you to obey God by expressing love to those who least deserving of it in the power of the Spirit.

6. Ananias told Paul what he needed to hear. Ananias said, "The Lord Jesus has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales and he received his sight and he arose and was baptized." (Acts 7:17,18)

Tell people what they need to hear even when you harbor some suspicions in your heart about their response.

Ananias did not know how Saul would react, but he spoke the words of truth God had given to him. The trouble with many Christians is they want assurance that what they will say and do is going to have positive outcomes.

Ask God for the courage to speak how, when and to whom He directs to communicate with.

7. The Lord promoted Ananias to become the bishop of Damascus. Obedience brings rewards. Trust God to help you to allow the Him to promote you in His good way.

8. The Lord allowed Ananias to die as a martyr for what he believed. Many people are willing to obey God for a little while but soon grow weary or become distracted by the worries, riches or pleasures of this life, but not Ananias.

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