Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Does God Make it All Work?

I am constantly amazed at how God influences every area of my life at the same time. Yesterday, as Michele and I were traveling back home from San Diego, she was relating a conversation she had with the Christians who happened to be in her group at this conference. The topic they were discussing at lunch was marriage and divorce among Christians. It seemed to have been a lively discussion. (I wish I had been there.)

            Today as I joined my prayer partner for our weekly grouping, he brought up a topic that on the surface would seem unrelated. He asked me to take a look at the Sunday school lesson he was preparing to teach tomorrow. There was something he wanted a second opinion on and that point became part of our discussion. I cannot say what the actual point was; however, I will say both these issues are based in tradition.

            Salvation is the gift of God … available through the Son of God … a miracle of faith. Anything that undermines that faith, or suggests that we can somehow accomplish everything necessary to transform the world apart from Christ is leading unsuspecting people down the wrong path. However well-meaning it may be it is the path away from God. Traditions taught by men that diminish or deny the miracle working power of the Son of God, run the risk of becoming the same lie the devil used in the garden. “You shall not surely die, … You shall be as gods …”  

Galatians 1:13-16 “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” (KJV)

            Stand firm and keep reading the Bible. God reveals Himself through His word. That means when our opinions, traditions, and especially our desires do not line up with the Bible. It is not Scripture that is wrong. Traditions cannot usher us into the grace of God. More often than not they drive us away from Him. Keep a strong grip on the TRUTH found in the Bible.

2 Thessalonians 2:14-17 “He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” (NLT)

            Allow the Bible to be your source of inspiration. Learn its lessons and discover a meaningful and joyous relationship with God. As to my stance on marriage and divorce, I believe the scripture is clear. If you do stay single … If you have remarried, repent and don’t do it again. Both the Old and New Testaments support this approach.

Malachi 2:16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.” (KJV)

Mark 10:4-9 “And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (KJV)

            We (and I do include myself) spend far too much time justifying our traditions and opinions and far too little time studying the Bible to see what God has to say.

2  Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV)

2 Peter 1:19-21 “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

            Those concepts we find hard to accept or understand from the Bible cannot be erased, or explained away. We must ask God to lead us by His Holy Spirit into acceptance of His plan. It is His message. Who better to explain it? Walk in the way of the WORD not the traditions of men. He has ways we cannot understand. He just makes it work.

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