“The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.”

Frederick Beuchner from Listening toYour Life

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We are at a point in our journey where we need to look back before we move forward. Going back to the first days of the early church and community. 

Turning back a chapter or two, we saw the new believers come together, selling their belongings, combining resources that would provide for the community as a whole. This was church and community at its finest hour. Before, the enemy comes creeping around, attacking from the outside, and then on the inside.

What better way to get a community of believers in a jumbled up mess than to involve deceit and money, the need for power and recognition. Often, the need for our own personal platforms. Ouch! That does pinch a bit doesn’t it?

Let’s dig in to today’s story.

Now, a man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira  likewise sold their farm. They conspired to secretly keep back for themselves a portion of the proceeds. So when Ananias brought the money to the apostles, it was only a portion of the entire sale. God revealed their secret to Peter, so he said to him, “Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart and make you think you could lie to the Holy Spirit? You only pretended to give it all, yet you hid back part of the proceeds, from the sale of your property to keep for yourselves.” ~Acts 5: 1-3  The Passion Translation

I imagine standing before Peter, Ananias may have been squirming. Have you ever been in this position? I have. It is not exactly a lie, though our friend did out right lie, but it is not exactly the truth either. It lies~smile~ somewhere in the middle, and yet the heat creeps up our necks, into our cheeks. Beads of sweat begin to form on my lip and under my clothing. Discomfort has me, maybe you, Ananias, shifting our feet, not quiet making eye contact.

Think of the cute shoes you may have just brought home, quickly taken them out of the box, stuffed it along with the bag and receipt, somewhere deep in the dark recesses of your trash. In my case, it would be books. If you have been in my home, you know what I’m speaking of! I pray all day for the package not to fit in the mailbox,(don’t judge me!), forcing the mail carrier to bring it to my door, thus avoiding it passing through the hands of my Sweet Man. Trashing the box at the bottom of the recycle, stacking the book on one of the many, because, yes, there is two, three, or six stacks at all times.

Life is good right? I mean, he walks in the door, I don’t have to cover up the truth because I already have.

Only life is not so good. I know, most times he finds me out, because, thank you (insert eye roll and smirking here) on-line banking, for keeping my man informed of my adulteress affair with Amazon!

Our friend Ananias finds himself squirming in a tight spot! Let’s pick up where we left off, with Peter asking the hard questions.

“Before you sold it, wasn’t it yours to sell or to keep? And after you sold it, wasn’t the money entirely at your disposal? How could you plot such a thing in your heart? You haven’t lied to people; you’ve lied to God!” ~Acts 5:4 The Passion Translation 

I am speculating the reason for such a lie. Ananias, like most of us desires to look good before his people, before his leaders. And like most of us, I suspect he may have spent time debating with himself and God,  justifying what he was about to be do. Did it bother him at all to drag his wife into his scheme?

After all he did give the bulk of it to the church, right? So what was the problem?

The thing is, I can mostly keep my book purchases hidden. But why, when all I need to do is have an open and honest conversation with my man, who happens to by my husband and the head of our household.

When I make a poor decision such as Ananias has here, it affects my relationship with my husband, and my God.

As we will see tomorrow, for Ananias the consequences of his lie will cost not only him, but his wife, Sapphira as well. Judgement will come.

“Before you sold it, wasn’t it yours to sell or keep? And after you sold it, wasn’t the money entirely at your disposal; you’ve lied to God!” ~Acts 5:4 The Passion Translation 

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  51hxszll50l-_sx331_bo1204203200_I love this book, the concept, the stories, and the cover. The fact that I was invited to be tucked among the pages is an honor. You can order your copy here . Or here. All proceeds for this book will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe“If you only have one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it frustrated. Spend it writing.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook

 

Gifts of Grace