Today’s Reading: Acts 5:3-4 (NIV)
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.
We were playing tag in the back yard with my friends when I first saw it. Lying on the driveway next to the car of Mrs. Baker, my Brownie leader, was a tiny, square floral bag with a small handle. It wasn’t much larger than a coin purse. On the front of the bag were colorful appliquéd daisies. I took a peek inside and found a pretty rain bonnet, the kind my mother would wear out of the beauty salon after getting her hair done every Friday morning. I picked the bag up and slipped it into the pocket of my Brownie uniform. I immediately turned to see whether any of my friends had noticed what I had done. Everyone else was running, laughing and playing; there was obviously no one to tell.
After dinner that night, after slipping into my pajamas, I took the bag from my pocket and gave it to my mother. “Look what I found Mommy, just for you!” I handed her the pretty bag with the rain bonnet inside. Mommy seemed surprised, yet not as pleased as I thought she would be. Mother said, “Debbie, where did you get this?” “I found it on the ground today,” I proudly announced. After all, that wasn’t a lie. I did find it on the driveway. “Where was it?” Mother said, looking at me with her piercing blue eyes. Somehow, I knew if said that the rain bonnet was sitting next to our Brownie leader’s car, then she would presume it belonged to Mrs. Baker. Brownies were not supposed to lie, but in the moment, this Brownie did. “I found it on the playground at school,” I bit my upper lip as the words rolled off my tongue before I could stop them. It was such a beautiful bonnet. I wanted my Mother to have it so badly. After all, Mommy was the prettiest woman I knew, and I simply wanted to give her something beautiful to wear after she had her hair done on Friday.
I never saw Mommy wear that bonnet. In fact, she kept it in her purse until the next Brownie meeting. It was as if her Mommy radar knew exactly who the bonnet belonged to. When we arrived at Mrs. Baker's home, Mommy took my hand and went inside to ask the leader if she was missing a rain bonnet in a tiny floral bag. “Why yes indeed,” she exclaimed. “I’ve been looking for it all week.” Mother pulled it out of her purse and handed it to me. Crocodile tears began to form inside my eyes. I could feel my face flush a thousand shades of red. Trembling, I reluctantly handed the bag back to my Brownie leader. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Baker,” I said. “When I found the bag outside, I wasn’t sure who it belonged to, so I took it home and gave it to my Mommy.” She smiled and thanked me for returning something that I had no intention of ever giving back. I don’t think Mrs. Baker knew what I had done, but my mother certainly did. The disappointment and hurt I saw on her face was more than I could bear.
What does it feel like to break God's heart?
Ananias knew that he was deceiving the Apostles that day, when he withheld some of his sale proceeds, thereby stealing from the church's treasury. What he didn’t realize was how much it would grieve God’s Holy Spirit, and the damage it would cause to the entire body as a result. He couldn’t believe how Peter saw right through the lie. I imagine it was the realization of what he had done, that made Ananias’ heart skip a beat. When you choose to take something that does not belong to you, and you know that you know that you know you are wrong in doing it, can you feel your heart skipping a beat or maybe two or even three?
When we lie, we are fooling ourselves if we think the Father doesn’t see and know the deceitfulness we hold inside our hearts. It is something to think about this morning, while there is still breath in your body and your heart is beating. You and I have the opportunity to confess our sins and seek forgiveness for the lies we’ve told. Stop lying to yourself. You cannot fool God. Satan is the great deceiver. He came to steal and destroy your life, and if you do choose to turn away from the Lord, He will make your lies seem justifiable, and eventually, you will believe buy into the lie instead of God’s Truth. Today, you have one more opportunity to turn around, confess your faith in Jesus Christ, and ask Him help you see the difference between His Truth and the world’s lie. He will help you IF you call on Him, but the choice is entirely yours to make.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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